A brief look at Underwrite Later

27 April 2021
Applying for a Business Menu Plan or Relevant Life Plan can sometimes take longer than applying for personal protection.

If your client doesn’t want to wait to get their cover started, they can now apply for our Underwrite Later option. With this, we may be able to start their plan after only an initial assessment of their application.

Listen to Gregor Sked and Shelley Read our Intermediary Development and Technical team as they look at the new option in more detail.

Welcome to this podcast brought to you by Royal London.

I’m Shelley Read and today I’m joined by my colleague Gregor Sked.

Hi Shelley,

Hi Gregor.

So today I thought we’d discuss a new addition to Royal London’s business protection benefit, called Underwrite Later.

Yes, so some listeners may have seen some communications about this new benefit, but essentially this is immediate cover for clients applying for Business Protection cover, and that also includes our relevant life policies.

Yes, that’s right, we’re all aware that applying for a business protection menu plan or relevant life plan can sometimes take a little longer than a personal menu application. There may be cases where we need to additional medical evidence, such as a GP report or medical examination, or financial information underwriters need to fully assess the application

And Shelley, just for the benefit of our listeners can you confirm that Underwrite Later is only available on life cover?

Yes that correct, life cover only

And as you know with business protection cases, the sum assured tends to be much greater than personal protection. What’s the maximum amount of cover available under Underwrite Later?

The limits are very generous up to £3.5 million sum assured.

And just picking up on something you mentioned earlier, which was the use of business menu plans. So what happens then if the client’s going to use a menu plan and maybe they've got multiple covers that they're applying for such as critical illness and key person income protection alongside the life cover?

That’s a really good question; Royal London will automatically split the other covers into another plan so that we can start the life cover straight away.

And Shelley how many applications do you think will actually get an immediate decision?

Well, currently 49% of our business protection applications receive an immediate decision and we estimate with Underwrite Later, this could increase up to about 93%1

That’s excellent, and I guess Underwrite later will also address any uncertainty surrounding face-to-face medicals too?

Yes, their plan can start straight away and clients can then ago for their medical anytime within the next six months. This is the time we will allow for underwriting to take place, if we don’t receive all the information we need after six months of when the plan started, unfortunately then we will have to cancel the plan. But please be assured we will keep the adviser updated at all times.

Something many advisers might be worried about listening today and that’s in relation to commission. So, what if advisers are concerned about claw back?

Again, great question Gregor… Advisers can choose to start their plan on a non-indemnity basis to, as you say, reduce the risk on a large claw back. But then once we have completed underwriting the adviser can change the commission back to indemnity and receive the rest of that initial commission as a lump sum.

Other “immediate” cover options in the market automatically exclude things like pre-existing conditions, travel and hazardous pursuits …is this the same with Underwrite Later?

Actually no, clients who start their cover through Underwrite Later are fully covered with no extra exclusions added as standard.

That’s really good and I can see that a lot of clients who use Underwrite Later possibly staying more engaged during the process, and hopefully overall reducing the risk of a client maybe deciding not to proceed. 

One last question Shelley, can existing pipeline business protection applications benefit from Underwrite Later?

Underwrite Later can only be applied to those applications quoted on 21 January or later - that was the launch date for this benefit. This is because any cases quoted before launch will not receive the right version of the plan details, which include the Underwrite Later terms and conditions. However it is possible for applications quoted on 21st January and later to choose Underwrite Later even if the option was not selected at application stage, and for details on this process it's probably easier to contact your usual Royal London sales contact.

And Gregor, just before we go, we’ve also just been made aware that Protection Review has decided to give Underwrite Later one of their rare ‘iMark’ accolades for innovation. I think it’s only the third time this sort of recognition has been given to any provider in the past 5 years, so taking into account its very recent launch, again clearly shows how well this is landing with our advisers.

So that brings me to the end of this week’s Intermediary Development and Technical protection podcast to a close. All that’s left for me to say is Gregor thank you for joining me this week and a big thank you to you for listening wherever you are. We’ll be back with another protection podcast very soon….

source: Royal London, expected volumes based on analysis of 2020 underwriting decisions, December 2020.

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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. The firm is on the Financial Services Register, registration number 117672. It provides life assurance and pensions. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0RL.