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Underwriting in a digital age

Apr 11, 2019, 13:09 PM
by Robert Morrison
Technology and Underwriting
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Underwriting in a digital age 

A few years ago I set out our vision to provide Aviva’s customers with a digital underwriting experience that is straightforward and effortless, whilst ensuring every customer is assessed as an individual. Here we are in 2019 and it’s a good time for a progress check – are we achieving our vision? Let’s look at the different stages of underwriting:- 

Initial application – Straight Through Processing (STP)

Traditionally underwriting was seen as a sticking point in the sales process – after all the hard work you have put into getting to the point that your customer is ‘putting pen to paper’ on an application, off it goes to underwriting and seemingly into a black hole. Did you know, with Aviva around 9 out of 10 people using ALPS receive a final decision from their application alone? Around 8 out of 10 get a decision instantly, with the remainder being reviewed by an underwriter within 48 hours*- making Aviva’s STP and turnaround times really stand out. How do we achieve this? Through a highly sophisticated interactive underwriting ‘engine’ which is designed to gather sufficient information at point of sale to enable a final decision to be reached immediately for the vast majority of cases. The system is designed to come up with the same decision as a human underwriter – it’s just that it can process large volumes of applications at once, meaning no delays for the majority of customers.

What about the other 1 in 10? 

So, we’ve successfully automated the initial application for the majority of our customers – but what about the 1 in 10 who we do need medical evidence for? We require our customers consent to obtain medical information from their General Practitioner (GP) but it doesn’t need to be a hassle for customers to complete. Gone are the days of paper AMRAs which took days to reach the customer and yet more days to be completed and returned in the post. We’ve introduced digital AMRAs using Docusign technology to make it simple and secure for customers to complete and return their AMRA immediately. The same goes for General Practitioner’s Reports (GPRs) – we will always look to obtain the GPR electronically using i-GPR technology – a simpler and more data secure method for GPs to complete and return a GPR.

What next?

If we can automate the application and AMRA / GPR process, can we do the same for the assessment of the GPR when it comes back in? The answer is yes. We have already developed and are at an advanced stage of digital underwriting of i-GPRs through artificial intelligence (AI). These are exciting times in underwriting at Aviva and this is just one of many innovations we’re working on – all aligned with our vision of making things straightforward and effortless for our customers. So watch this space!

*These figures are based on 2018 underwriting data

AL55050 04/2019

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