Financial planners stand to save anywhere between 24 to 72 hours when seeking information on the likely cost of insurance for clients, according to ANZ OnePath chief underwriter Peter Tilocca.
Tilocca, who has been working in underwriting for 25 years, found there were many things with the underwriting process that he had long thought required an overhaul.
During an underwriting transformation program at ANZ OnePath, one of the things that stuck out to Tilocca was that under the insurance underwriting application process, life risk advisers spent a lot of time convincing people about the need for cover.
The clients were then put through the underwriting process, with various past and present medical issues discussed in order to sort out the appropriate policy.
“From a customer experience perspective, I’ve always found that to be really poor,” he said.
“Advisers would email in details of a client that they had and wanted an indication of which way the underwriting decision would go. That would sit around between 24 and 48 hours depending on workloads before we got back to them.
“And by the time the underwriter responded to that query, it could be about three days later. Potentially, that sale has gone cold, and so what I started thinking about was, how do we, in some regards, turn that process on its head?”
So, Tilocca came up with a way of “putting the power back into advisers’ hands,” the result of which was the Pre-Assessment Wizard (PAW) that his team subsequently put into a pilot program, but was now available to any adviser with a OnePath accreditation or adviser number.
“There was no mucking around with doctor’s reports and going backwards and forth with the client trying to get them to sign amended terms – it was all signed up front, everyone was on the same page, and the case went through really quickly,” Tilocca said.
“And that helps the adviser from that efficiency perspective, especially under the new LIF (life insurance framework) arrangements – they’re looking for efficiencies in their office and this is a tool that really gives them that.”
Tilocca said the OnePath PAW had now handled close to 1400 medical conditions, which translated into 1400 times that an adviser didn’t have to wait, or 1400 times they had upfront clarity about what the likely decision would be regarding loading.
“The ‘smarts,’ if you want to call it that, within the Pre-Assessment Wizard, are much more than what we or – and I can put my hand on my heart on this – any of our competitors will be able to provide through our electronic underwriting engine as they currently stand,” he said.
OnePath’s PAW was recently awarded one of Canstar’s 2018 Innovation Excellence Awards for “having a high degree of innovation, particularly in terms of uniqueness and level of disruption”.
Given that the PAW could save customers 48 hours or more of waiting time, Canstar said it expects the industry to follow suit and begin to put similar methods in place.
“The ability to provide outcomes by assuming a best-case scenario when customer information is not available stood out to Canstar as having the ‘wow factor’ that we look for within our submissions,” the financial comparison site said.