MLC to Use Underwriting to Improve Products

MLC Life Insurance will leverage its underwriting capability to better understand the risks faced by clients and to adjust the type of products it will offer, according to its new chief underwriter, Debbie Kennedy.

MLC Life Insurance Chief Underwriter, Debbie Kennedy

The insurer will launch a new underwriting rules engine in April, after signing an agreement to use Pacific Life Re’s UnderwriteMe (see: MLC Life Underwriting Deal to Offer Instant Pricing) and Kennedy said it was time to move underwriting into the twenty-first century.

“The process has not changed in decades for some life insurers and it is much more than moving a paper application online,” Kennedy said, adding that underwriting was about to enter a new era due to the use of technology.

“The idea is that we take underwriting from the back-office to front of house, and we can do it because the technology we have is much better, and we can make it an engaging process that gives more certainty to advisers earlier in the process,” she said.

“The process has not changed in decades…and it is much more than moving a paper application online”

For MLC Life Insurance, this process was about moving underwriting into client discussions so advisers could provide more certainty to clients based off dynamic decisions supplied by the insurer, according to Kennedy, who said advisers recognised the longer people had to wait for an underwriting outcome the more likely the adviser was to lose the client.

“We listened to how advisers do business and it is not always face to face, or it may happen over time, or through a number of practice staff members and if the application and underwriting are not flexible, clients can be lost,” Kennedy said.

“Our focus now is to shift from the idea of underwriting at application to a continuous, ongoing process that looks at the rolling needs of the clients,” she added.

As part of this, Kennedy said MLC Life Insurance will tap into data gathered via its underwriting processes “…to understand the risks we are seeing and the profile of the customers with those risks so we can design products to fit those needs.”

“We were able to do this in the UK with UnderwriteMe and offer insurance cover to people who were unable to secure cover for diabetes. This came from data and disclosure and using machine learning which can understand this information in a better way than ever before,” Kennedy said.