LV= has introduced a range of changes to the way it underwrites income protection, critical illness and life assurance policies.
Non-medical limits have increased by 10% for income protection, personal sick pay and critical illness cover. This means that the amount of cover policyholders can apply for before needing a further GP report, tele-interview or medical screening will rise by 10%. This will enable advisers and customers to secure faster underwriting decisions, without the need for medical evidence and screenings, which have been curtailed by social distancing measures.
Non-medical limits depend on policy and age. For a male under the age of 35, non-medical limits for a critical illness policy will increase from £450,000 to £500,000.
LV- is also trialling virtual medical screening for life-only applications where the non-medical underwriting limit has been triggered and where mild disclosures have been made. The virtual medical screenings will consist of an online meeting through Skype or other virtual meeting tools where a nurse will ask the customer questions about their health and monitor the client measuring their height, weight and blood pressure (if the client has their own device) and self-test kits.
The insurer is also extending its current practices to get customers covered, without medical evidence exams and reports, and help reduce the burden on the NHS. In the minority of cases where the LV= quote and apply system is unable to offer an immediate decision, these will now be reviewed individually by experienced underwriters. They’ll aim to make a decision through their judgement, speaking directly with the client or securing evidence from them – without resorting to screenings or reports.
LV= has also added a new question to accommodate coronavirus for new applications through its online quote system. Applicants are now required to disclose if they have tested positive for coronavirus, been advised to self-isolate, or had symptoms. LV= will postpone applications for a short period for applicants who have tested positive, are displaying symptoms or living with someone who is. To ensure that front line health workers are not disadvantaged the question regarding ‘direct contact’ has not been included. Applicants are also not required to disclose details about working from home, being in lockdown or living with someone who is medically shielding.
Debbie Kennedy, director of protection at LV=, said: “Dealing with a pandemic is certainly a challenge for any Protection market. A novel virus such as Covid-19 means we are constantly reviewing our current practices and procedures. LV= is a long-term player and we will ensure we do all we can to support financial advisers, their clients, and our members through these challenging times.
“We are rethinking the ways we offer protection and are not applying blanket exclusions as a result of coronavirus. The ABI’s pledges of supporting the NHS, supporting those making a claim and supporting vulnerable customers have guided our approach.
“We are committed to reducing the demands on the NHS and medical staff by increasing the amount of cover we offer without the need for specialist medical reports and introducing a series of measure to make it easier for advisers to apply for protection policies on behalf of clients.”