Automated Underwriting is the hot technology trend this year. There have been advancements since COVID-19 in 2020 from the growth in adoption of Electronic Health Records to AI in digital point of sales automated underwriting decisions. Data Analytics for predictive modeling is not some experimental outlier anymore. It is being used in mainstream underwriting today by life carriers and reinsurers. As we continue to keep you updated on the latest innovations in automated underwriting, it is also important to recognize the automation in the life insurance fulfillment process—like digital parameds and electronic lab slips. New software platforms relating to health and wellness are sprouting up in the market for carriers to offer to their policyholders. We are going to introduce in this article more details around Consumer Digital Health Engagement.
Automated Underwriting is Driven by Data and AI
SCOR is a global reinsurance company providing its clients with a broad range of innovative solutions. They have been on the cutting-edge doing studies, research, and development in automated underwriting (AUW). SCOR’s experts in underwriting have published on their website several articles on the future of life insurance underwriting. What they forecasted last year and in 2019 is being realized today.
I met with SCOR and they directed me to these articles, so here are some important facts: “Most companies agree the future of underwriting will be data driven. Data is one of the most valuable resources available to companies today, with new layers being added continuously. Computing capability is increasing and development of predictive models using machine learning techniques provide the ability to become much smarter in our assessment of risks. What does this mean for the future of underwriting? Underwriting assessments will be predominantly digital, will be unique to the individual risks and will require transparency.”
“Predictive models are an incredibly powerful tool with the potential to drive the life insurance industry forward in ways that are good for both consumers (improving their purchasing experience by removing intrusive requirements and long delays) and carriers (increasing taken rates and persistency and increasing the accuracy of mortality assessments). Traditional rules-based approaches start with assumptions and predict outcomes, while a predictive-model based strategy starts with outcomes and uses modelling techniques to identify data characteristics most likely to produce those outcomes. The predictive power of a model should be supported by a rules-based safety net. This predictive power coupled with the continued emergence of new underwriting data sources, puts us on the cusp of a sea change in what it means to underwrite.“
Velogica is SCOR’s automated underwriting platform designed to make instant underwriting decisions. It is integrated into the life insurance point-of-sales process. Velogica is helping major clients drive new models of efficient distribution through predictive risk assessment and point-of-sale policyholder capture. The Velogica algorithm correlates information from the life insurance application, motor vehicle reports, MIB reports and prescription drug history, and, in some states, criminal history. Clinical lab histories and credit-based mortality scores are on the horizon.
The Challenge of Automated Underwriting of Foreign Nationals
Global Insurance Solutions Group (Global SG) is not your typical life BGA because their niche business is providing life insurance to foreign nationals. They are experts at underwriting proposed insureds who travel to, reside and/or are citizens of other countries. Global SG works with specific carriers and life products that are available for this target market. I contacted Rita Northen, director of operations at Global SG and I asked her, “Does the progress we have made in automated underwriting work for this market?”
Rita explained, “Automated underwriting within the U.S. has expanded dramatically over the last several years. U.S. insurance carriers can collect an enormous amount of data on their insureds during the underwriting process. We are all aware of these data examples, i.e. MVR, script checks, MIB, and EHR. Our business focus at Global Insurance Solutions Group is in the high-net-worth foreign national market. The majority of our insureds reside outside of the U.S. and the automated underwriting processes frequently are not approved for our clients. Most carriers do not have the capabilities to access medical and financial data in other countries (or are not interested in trying).” I would like to clarify that automated underwriting does exist in other countries and medical data is available, however access to this data has either limited or restricted from companies outside of specific countries. Also U.S. life carriers have specific guidelines for underwriting foreign nationals, which a lot of its process involves paper and an underwriter to make a decision.
There is hope in making progress in getting access to some data. Rita wanted to emphasize the following: “One notable exception is Prudential, who we find takes a deeper dive into the data available on the internet. On our HNW foreign nationals, Prudential runs what it calls a DVR (Data Verification Report). These reports usually take a few days to complete and, although they are not always fully accurate or complete, typically give the carrier some independent information on the insured. The process definitely helps us in completing our cases quicker without having to get “the paper requirements” that, in this day and age, we all try to avoid.”
Consumer Digital Health Engagement
There is another new innovative trend in Insurtech. This new category is “Customer Engagement/Retention.” These are consumer mobile apps designed for carriers to offer to their policyholders to encourage healthy life choices, which in turn helps keep the business on the books.
Why Digital Health Engagement for Insurers? For life insurers, the value proposition is pretty obvious–healthy people are more likely to live longer. Yet, the majority of carriers do not engage with their members around their health (other than the initial exam, which is not exactly helpful). There are many benefits for insurers to implement an ongoing digital engagement strategy centered around health that delights users and provides benefits back to the issuer. Improving and helping to maintain overall health and wellbeing is the foundation. From there, a digital health engagement strategy can be used to differentiate your brand from competitors. With a custom branded white label app, members see your brand on a daily basis while they manage their lifestyle and positively associate it with helping them live better lives. This is very different from the relationship a traditional insurer has with their inforce policy holders. Once members are tracking their health and engaging with the branded platform, new personalized opportunities for cross- and up-sell are created. Rewards can increase use and retention, increase brand loyalty, and provide an attractive selling feature. dacadoo offers a robust health engagement platform, available as fully branded white label solutions, to provide these benefits and more to insurers around the world.
What’s your Health Score? Individuals have more health data than ever before available at their fingertips from trackers, wearables, and smartphone apps. It can be difficult to make sense of the volume of data and understand what truly affects your health. dacadoo’s mission is to make health measurable and understandable. One way it does so is by the Health Score, a real-time number from 1-1,000 based on 300 million person-years of clinical data, which has been patented and validated. dacadoo also offers the Risk Engine for Health quantification, based on the same underlying science as the Health Score, which can be accessed by API.
How can insurers use this data? Most insurers are not taking advantage of the recent advances in health tracking technology. By taking in these new data sources, such as steps and other health data, they can better estimate probabilities for mortality and morbidity. dacadoo’s Risk Engine was created to meet this need and augment existing underwriting. By providing a more complete health data set and imputing missing data points, insurers can strengthen accelerated underwriting, underwriting automation, and pricing engines. Some innovative insurers are creating new products to incentivize healthy behavior and offer premium discounts. Another use case is to recognize what behaviors have the biggest benefit, for instance increasing daily steps and activity, and offer programs for members to maintain or improve these areas. When people are healthier it’s a win-win—the individuals live better lives and it’s better for insurers.
Automating the Life Fulfillment Process
APPS electronic lab slip, in partnership with CRL, provides a fully digital solution. This automated process called eSlip, enables examiners to securely capture applicants’ biometric data and have the applicant sign the consent form via a tablet. Upon completion, the data is transmitted securely to CRL.
This process provides an electronic chain of custody that parallels the physical chain of custody of the specimen. It closes several gaps in the traditional process and ensures the data integrity throughout the process, eliminating the potential for unmatched results upon submission to the carrier. eSlip also reduces the risk associated with potential lost PHI during transit and the resultant consumer friction. It only makes sense that with today’s eApplication processes, the consumer experience continues through an end-to-end digital process. Bye bye paper!