Obtaining Medical Evidence for Insurance Protection Products during the Coronavirus crisis.
You would have thought that the subject of obtaining medical evidence for insurance protection products was one of the least likely places to obtain a good news story in the current crisis.
But there is some good news.
A few years ago, I wrote an article for Cover Magazine envisioning the ways in which improvements in gathering medical evidence were likely to be made. So, it is good and encouraging to report that those improvements are now, increasingly coming on stream.
It is to be expected that GP surgeries currently are hard pressed. There are anecdotes about some surgeries refusing to produce reports for the insurance industry although equally it has to be said that there are reports that some surgeries are producing reports quite quickly as footfall in surgeries is reduced by the lockdown. But face to face nurse screenings are currently not an option.
So how can there be a good news story here? The answer lies in technology.
Over the past two years or so a software system, iGPR has been developed. This enables, patient records, with doctor approval, to be interrogated electronically for the information requested by the insurance company. The information is then transmitted electronically and speedily to the underwriter. A significant amount of GP practice time is saved and the turnaround time is so much better than through traditional methods.
In normal times the turnaround time might be a month or so, with the managed iGPR service provided via Medical Screening Solutions (MSS) that time is averaging just 17 calendar days. Indeed, in a recent case an underwriter told me that final terms had been offered subject to information concerning weight, height and blood pressure. The information was obtained through iGPR within three days and final terms were immediately confirmed.
So, this development is faster and also, most importantly involves much less “hands on“ time from the GP. It has been estimated that some 80% of the insurance industry now use iGPR.
In another development, sped up as a result of the current coronavirus crisis, an innovative system has been developed by MSS whereby patients are sent a Home Testing Kit. This customer pack can include a measuring tape, Cotinine test and a self-collect finger prick blood testing kit. This equipment is used by the applicant during a nurse video consultation. The nurse will instruct and assist the applicant in completion of the tests required and the information obtained can be sent on to underwriters.
The amount of information obtainable through a simple finger prick blood test is astonishing. Jonathan Benton of MSS says that it can include “ a significant part of the biochemistry including Kidney Function, Liver Function and the Lipid profile. Where requested by the insurance company, we are also able to obtain results for virology including Hepatitis B and C and HIV.”
The use of finger prick testing for the insurance industry is only just beginning, but it is to be hoped it will now see a rapid acceleration of use.
There are, no doubt, all sorts of further improvements that technology could bring to the production of medical evidence. The Coronavirus provides an urgent impetus to introduce further improvements. In the short term the Insurance Industry can encourage the use of tele interviewing to ask applicants for more information about any medical condition and keep GP’s out of the loop.
In the meantime, Pulse can provide quotes for short term Accidental Death cover to provide a stop gap whilst medical data is being collected. We can consider large sums insured, subject to financial justification, and a vast range of occupations.
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