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Hewison Private Wealth - Insights
Hewison Insights

The positives of Underwriting

Marcus English
11 Jul 2022

Underwriting is a process we go through when applying for insurance. I’ve spoken about it before – it is essentially the insurer assessing the individual as a risk to them. A key aspect of this is the assessment of somebody’s medical situation – their current health, family history, previous conditions and injuries etc. To be honest, medical underwriting can often be the bane of my professional existence.

We can have the best formulated strategies and plans, but unless we can get policies accepted with favourable terms, it can all fall over. It’s not necessarily a quick process either! We meet with clients, understand their objectives, and subsequently recommend appropriate solutions to achieve those objectives – but that can be the quick part. Then comes the implementation process – which can drag on considerably dependent on the requirements of the insurer.

Blood work, doctors’ reports, health checks, obtaining various results, negotiating terms – it all takes time. But I don’t want to focus on the negatives.

What are the positives to come out of this process? I’ve perhaps mentioned before that underwritten insurance generally has stronger claims outcomes – the insurer has already had a chance to look at your situation and identify anything of concern. We know the basis on which we have insurance at what it covers, without any surprises at claim time (unless there are areas of non-disclosure).

But one aspect that I’ve thought more of lately, particularly because I’ve had several instances where this happened of late – is what if the underwriting process helps identify a health issue that we were not already aware of?

Whether mandatory blood tests, or the insurer not being comfortable with certain doctors’ information and pushing for further investigation, I have had four new applications in the last couple of months that has led to the discovery of various health matters that were of importance, some more so than others.

Whilst this isn’t great for the insurance application outcomes, it is helpful in identifying health issues whereby our clients can then be well informed and proactive in dealing with these matters, that could have otherwise gone untreated and unknown.

Getting treatment and health under control is of obvious benefit to each individual – and we like to see our clients healthy, happy and living out their dreams. Early identification of a health issues could help avoid a future claim, which in a way is still satisfying our underlying goal of wealth protection. But with treatment and consistently improved health, it could also allow us to go back to the insurer to renegotiate the terms under which insurance was originally offered.

Overall benefits – the client wins with proactive health management; the insurer is doing their job of managing risk and sustainability of client books for the benefit of all their policy holders; and we are doing our bit always with our client’s best interest at heart.

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