MLC, Pacific Life Re partner on underwriting


By Megan Tran

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MLC Life Insurance has partnered with Pacific Life Re to adopt the British reinsurer’s underwriting engine, UnderwriteMe, allowing advisers to instantly see a client’s outcome at the point of sale and streamline the underwriting process.

The company said the UnderwriteMe rules engine used a comprehensive database of industry standard questions that assessed a client’s health and lifestyle status. Based on the responses, the engine gives an on-the-spot quote on premiums for life insurance, and any loadings or exclusions that might apply.

For financial advisers, it also included a pre-assessment tool for clients who wanted an instant indicative price for life insurance cover.

Speaking to financialobserver, MLC Life Insurance head of underwriting and new business Simon Dent said the standout feature of the new engine was its capacity to hold data.

More than 6500 medical conditions were stored on the engine, providing a range of data to assess a customer’s potential risk.

“While health is the main thing, it also stores 5000 occupations and over 500 interests in the database,” Dent said.

He added that all information was desensitised so no personal information could be leaked about a particular client.

Dent said the engine could make more underwriting decisions at the point of application rather than the point of sale, which he said should be the future of underwriting as it gave greater certainty for advisers and clients.

MLC Life Insurance chief customer officer of retail advised insurance Melissa Heyhoe said she believed UnderwriteMe would revolutionise the way life insurers assess risk and reduce the time it took for consumers to get cover.

Heyhoe said underwriting had customarily been a complex process where clients filled out paper-based questionnaires about their health and history.

UnderwriteMe would be available across all of MLC’s retail advised and direct life insurance products from later this year.

Dent said the new partnership was a step forward for the company, which was acquired by Japanese insurer Nippon Life last year.

“It’s a great step forward for MLC, there are big investments across the business and [it’s a] further proof point that our technology is going forward,” he said.

He said that technology would transform the industry - especially for underwriting - over the next five years, and the changes were likely to be more dramatic than he had yet seen during his 25-year career in insurance.

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