TAMPA--Accelerated underwriting has historically been a slow movement within the insurance industry, a panel acknowledged Monday at the LIMRA Life Insurance Conference.
But not always.
Eric Carlson, principal and life actuary at Milliman IntelliScript, shared a 2018 chart from Milliman showing which data points "might be used in 10 years" for accelerated underwriting.
The top answers included electronic health records, online questionnaire, credit profile and artificial intelligence. Medical billing data was not listed at all, Carlson noted, and is being used today.
"That's one of the interesting things as we're looking back at this study that was done about four years ago," agreed J.J. Carroll, vice president of product development and innovation for AAA Life Insurance. "We're almost halfway through to this projection in 10 years and it's interesting. I always thought that accelerated underwriting is just so slow. We're never getting where we want to be. But if you take this look back in time, we can see the progress that we're making."
Likewise, there are other areas of study on the horizon now that weren't even on the radar just four years ago, Carroll added, such as epigenetics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence.
Carlson and Carroll also discussed ways technology and algorithmic modeling can help the insurance process in other ways. Carroll offered five additional opportunities to use technology to move quickly to close sales:
Scheduling. Technology can help make the decision on labs happen much faster, she noted. "Things like schedulers can be a big help there in terms of really flexibly meeting the needs of the customer who's applied, and how do you get something on the books very quickly, right there while the agent is there," Carroll explained.
Dashboards. Having the right dashboard can dramatically improve the communication between the agent and the underwriter, Carroll noted.
Case Management. This aspect goes "hand in hand" with the dashboard motivation to improve communication, she added. Having case managers who are in the loop at all times and can chase down some of the outstanding requirements allow the agent to focus more on the clients.
"We all know the faster that we can get the requirements back and the faster the decision can be made, then the more likely we are to issue that case," Carroll said. "So, some of these things are pretty important."
Voice Signature. The pandemic made getting signature much harder, but also spurred innovation to address the problem. Voice and text signatures are becoming more commonplace and can further speed up the process, Carroll said.
"Having the technology to be able to get signatures in multiple ways helps you keep [the agent] from having to do some of that chasing, because you could get that signature right away immediately while you're on the phone with the person," she added.
Honest Disclosure. "I kind of threw this one in here as kind of like a bonus element here, particularly around the honesty of disclosure," Carroll said. "Whatever through technology we can do to ensure we're getting honest disclosures out of self-reported parts of the application, or if there are any elements the agent can continue to do to make sure we really are getting an accurate representation of this person's risk, that is going to just tighten and sharpen the pencil."
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.