We reviewed Underwrite Later back in February 2021, when it just applied to business protection applications.
Now, the mutual insurer has extended the Underwrite Later option to include life cover on personal menu plans too, provided they have a sum insured of over £1m and not exceeding £3.5m, and on Whole of Life (WOL) plans over £0.5m and up to £3.5m. The added option also applies to joint life policies, provided both lives are eligible.
Introduced in 2021, Underwrite Later allows customers to get cover while medical evidence is being obtained.
During the underwriting period, Royal London will lock in customers’ age and health, and if their birthday falls within six months of cover starting, or their health changes, premiums won’t increase, and cover won’t be affected.
Customers applying for Underwrite Later online now also have the option to select a start date up to 30 days in future, available on personal protection, WOL, Business Protection and Relevant Life plans.
The insurer estimates that 94% of all life cover on Business and Relevant Life Plans could be put into force without waiting for medical evidence.
Comment: Insurance is all about managing uncertainty and especially adverse outcomes and of providing peace of mind that if the worst comes to the worst, your insurer will step in with cash and now, increasingly, help too.
So why do we start that (usually very long term) relationship by typically refusing to accept their ‘order’, even in principle, until we run weeks or months of checks? It almost seems that we don’t really want their business and only reluctantly will do so (we even use words like ‘acceptance’) provided they jump over various hurdles that we put in their way.
Now of course, that’s not how we in the industry see it but, with respect, that’s not the point.
Royal London started the Underwrite Later concept at the tightest pinch point – business insurance cases, where delays and ‘not taken ups’ were all too common. Now it’s been extended – on the back of phase one going well – to large cases. Ultimately, so long as the concept continues to prove itself, we expect it to be further extended.
One surprise is that other insurers (with some exceptions) have not leapt to copy the idea. That may simply reflect the industry’s risk aversion and cautiousness but, ultimately, we think the concept has legs and expect others to adopt and adapt it too.
If it fits your client, why not use it?
Plus points: An extension of the concept pioneered with business insurance: Simple; it makes sense.
Not so plus points: Being slowly rolled out so it doesn’t apply (yet?) to most protection applications for example; Not perfect – in very rare cases they may be issues that end up stopping the plan; If it’s that good why haven’t other insurers rushed to copy it?
Rating (max 10): Overall: 9. Platinum
Tags: Other/Royal London
I Mark: No