Underwriting

We've taken a fresh look at our underwriting.

We've taken a closer look at our underwriting and focused on the most commonly disclosed conditions - such as mental health disorders and family history of cancer - and made changes that mean more of your clients can be accepted immediately and on standard rates. We've also updated our non-medical and financial underwriting limits, so more applications will be accepted without the need for further medical evidence.

Watch our short film to learn more about our underwriting improvements.

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We want to give you a tailored, personal service to suit your business needs.

We start by assuming you want regular updates at every stage, but we can vary our updates depending on what suits you best.

We’ve aligned our teams to support you and your clients through the underwriting stage.

Our case managers are your dedicated point of contact. Our underwriters are pooled with all their different skill sets. This way the underwriter who’s best suited to help with any specific case, based on their particular skills, will be the dedicated underwriter for that plan.

Every step of the way the case manager will update you, when it’s appropriate. This can be different for everyone, depending on the business, so the case manager works to understand what’s best for you. 

Our underwriters know the subject and want to get close to the business to help make underwriting as slick as possible. All our underwriters’ and case managers’ direct phone numbers and email addresses are available, so you can call them if you're not sure about where to place something.

Our underwriters are flexible in how they work. If something unexpected comes up, they can speak face to face. If they need to know something medical, they can speak directly to the client if it’s quicker, although sometimes it has to be a doctor. Of course, if a client’s working and can’t talk on the phone we can email instead – whatever works best for them.

Sometimes the pre-sale conversation throws up some interesting questions. If you have specific concerns because, for example, a client does extreme sports, our underwriters can speak to the reinsurers, investigate the activity and find out what terms we can give. It may be that we can offer full cover at a premium, or maybe offer cover with exclusions.

We work under a broad set of principles rather than a process. Of course we have our underwriting philosophy, data protection regulations, and other guidelines to follow. But we have the flexibility to speak to you, your client or whoever it is that can give us a better understanding of the situation.

It’s great that we’re not stuck by a set of rules – we do what’s appropriate for you and your clients. We’re allowed to get on and do the right thing in each case, adding value with our expertise and our understanding of different accounts.

Sometimes it makes sense to ask a client directly. Because only they will know how many times a night they’re woken by their asthma. It’s personal and we stay aware of that. So we’ll let you know about our contact with your clients, but we won’t necessarily go to them for everything. Not if it doesn’t make sense to. Unless they’d like us to, in which case we will.

Building relationships is key for our case managers. And we tailor our service, so if you would rather we always speak to you, we can do that too. If you only want phone calls on Thursdays, and emails on Tuesdays, we can do that. If you tell us how you prefer to do business, that will become the way we do business with you.

Sometimes you or your clients can get frustrated or perplexed by some of the questions we ask. If a client feels fine, why do we ask more questions than a doctor? If the doctor’s already treated them for their illness, why do we ask so much about it?

We’re looking at insuring people for decades sometimes. We’re considering their risk of critical illness or death in that whole timeframe. A doctor compares patients to the rest of the population he sees when telling them they'll be fine. Whereas we’re comparing them to the insured population we see.

When a client goes to the doctor it’s because they don’t feel well. If we ask for a nurse examination we’re looking for things that haven’t been picked up yet, where the symptoms haven’t started bothering the client yet. We can identify when someone’s at high risk. If someone’s overweight or has high blood pressure they’re not as healthy as the general population. Even if they’re controlling a condition with medication, they still have the underlying condition. And we need to consider that in underwriting them for the long term.

It may be that we ask for a GP referral, if for example they have high blood pressure or cholesterol. We don’t usually find anything we didn’t already know. But there have been cases where we’ve found life-threatening illnesses, meaning the clients could get treatment earlier than they would have. OK we might not insure them, but managing their health is arguably more important.

It helps if we get to know you and you get used to the sorts of questions we might ask, and why we ask them. 

The more closely we work with you, the more readily you'll think to ask an incidental question in your initial conversation with a client – you know what to look out for.

We get to know the set-up of your firm, for example if you have paraplanners, so that whenever we need to contact you we call the most appropriate person in the organisation. If further down the line a client wants to make alterations to a plan, maybe because they’ve stopped smoking or lost weight, we review it. So it makes sense that you or your client speak directly to us. Easy when you already know us.

Good underwriting is key to our business and to you too. That’s why we do things the way we do and invite you to be so closely involved.

Last updated: 15 Jul 2016

This website is intended for financial advisers only and shouldn't be relied upon by any other person. If you are not an adviser please visit royallondon.com.

The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0RL.