Project: Insurance Templates
To improve the interaction between insurance companies and applicants with complex medical conditions
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The Asking Relevant Questions project was a two year research initiative funded by Bupa Giving, which completed in August 2010. The project built on the Patient Supplementary Questionnares that had been developed and piloted by Genetic Alliance UK which aim to ensure only the correct information is presented to the insurer at point of application. This therefore speeds up the application process negating the need for expensive and time consuming GP reports, whilst also making the whole process more transparent for the consumer.
In this project Genetic Alliance UK explored ways to expand these to include further genetic disorders and other insurance products like travel. The aim of the project was to improve the interaction between insurance companies and applicants with complex medical conditions with a view to making the application process easier and quicker for all involved.
We worked with nine different patient groups to collate current experiences of patients and families on applying for insurance products. These findings were then disseminated to insurance companies to try and understand and help them to rate potential customers sensibly to ensure a more uniform approach was undertaken.
The groups we worked with were: -
- Macmillan Cancer Support
- Diabetes UK
- AMEND (Association for Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Disorders)
- Cystic Fibrosis Trust
- Tuberous Sclerosis Association
- Gauchers Association
- Confer Scotland
- Breakthrough Breast Cancer UK
- Haemochromatosis Society
The first years report can be read HERE.
The final Asking the Relevant Questions project report can be viewed now online. There were six key themes which emerged from our research.
- Medical Knowledge – The perception of a lack of understanding of medical conditions by insurance companies
- Inconsistency – The lack of clarity and inconsistent underwriting decisions.
- Application methods – The confusing array of ways to access insurance.
- Self Exclusion – How the continual declines can have an impact on an individuals perceived insurability.
- Understanding – The level of understanding of financial products.
- Access – The specialist networks that exist and how best to access them.
We also identified four key recommendations from our research.
- A lack of consumer understanding of financial products and insurance should be tackled in order to allow equity and fairness for all consumers, not just those affected by long term medical conditions.
- An effective working relationship between Underwriters, Patients and Medical Professionals should be established in order to gain a better understanding of the ‘real life’ risk. Not all conditions fit into black and white boxes.
- A greater understanding of uncommon medical conditions and an enhanced system of updating key information could help to reduce exposure to unnecessary risk. Treatments for consumers affected by long term conditions can often change rapidly and it is not always evident that the industry has had time to ‘catch up’ with the latest developments in treatments and research.
- Access to Insurance, has been one of the key themes of our research and a fantastic solution to this would be for the informal network of specialist ‘recommended’ companies which exist within the support communities to be formalised.
For further information please do read the final project report.