Unum income protection package

Income protection specialists Unum claims its revolutionary underwriting system could soon mean only one in ten income protection applications will require a GP’s report.

The insurer asks applicants not to list and detail former illnesses or injuries – standard practice among most providers - but instead to explain how they dealt with them.

It says the new “behavioural” method means applications could take as little as two days, potentially saving more than a week’s waiting time, and in many cases eliminating the need for a GP’s report altogether.

Linton Penman, head of retail marketing at Unum, says the system, based on what is called a Bio Psycho-Social Model and rolled out in June, is already having an impact. “Traditionally, 40% of applications used to require a GP’s report. The aim is to get that down to less than 10% and we’re on target to achieve that. It is making a real difference.”

Its new underwriting methods were developed by a team of behavioural scientists at the University of Cardiff.

Penman adds; “We take a different approach to verifying a client’s medical records, which looks at how people deal with incapacity rather than which illnesses or injuries they have had. It is called the Bio Psycho-Social Model. We’re not interested in what went wrong with you, but in how you dealt with it. This means we don’t have to write off to GPs because we can get the information we need from the applicant and complete the policy in just a couple of days. There will still be some occasions when we’ll have to get a GP’s report.”

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Unum income protection package
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