Health insurer Royal Liver is calling for the Association of British Insurers to introduce minimum standards for tele-underwriting which all insurers must adhere to.
Royal Liver believes there should be a minimum training standard for people taking disclosures over the telephone, for example they should be able to demonstrate they understand the terminology used and be able to discuss the underwriting process with the applicant.
In addition, there should be a “reasonable hour to call” time and female callers should be offered an option for a female to take their disclosures if they feel uncomfortable discussing medical subjects with a male. “If the call is specifically made to follow up on a breast or gynaecological disorder we believe that it should automatically be made by a female. In the spirit of equality you could incorporate calls being made by men regarding prostate or testicular disorders.”
Debbie Smith, chief underwriter at Royal Liver, says: “Without these minimum criteria, protection providers could make applying for critical illness and life cover much harder if they fail to implement a high quality tele-underwriting or tele-interviewing service as an option to replace traditional methods.”
Tele- underwriting is the process of using a detailed telephone interview rather than a long proposal form, supplementary written questions and medical reports.