By Carolyn McAvinn, FLMI, AALU, PMC-IVFebruary 27, 2023
The life insurance industry has undergone rapid changes related to the use of electronic medical data over the past three years. The obvious ‘kick-starter’ to this trend is the Covid-19 pandemic, which unequivocally fueled the use of automation and digital solutions by the industry, including the implementation of digital data into underwriting workflows. In addition to supporting automated underwriting, the trend toward use of electronic methods for obtaining data has the potential to drive three key advantages for the life insurance industry – it can be faster, cheaper, and overall better to meet the underwriting demands of today vs traditional data sources.
I would like to think that over the three years since the peak of the pandemic, facilitators of medical data have proven the efficiency and cost saving benefits that digital data provides.
At MIB, we are returning more than 75% of records within 24 hours and almost 20% of those records within the first five minutes of searching.
At half the cost of an APS, on average, we can also say with confidence that an electronic medical record is a significantly lower cost alternative to traditional underwriting data (APS, Exams, Laboratory Tests).
So, the question remains, have we satisfied the criteria for ‘Better’ yet?
This one is bit more subjective and challenging to measure. To answer this, we must consider what ‘Better’ means. One way this can be defined is to consider if medical records returned electronically are as easy to review as traditional Attending Physician Statement records.
Under this definition of ‘Better,’ there are two big challenges, both of which impact underwriter adoption of electronic medical data:
To date, there has been little focus on developing a targeted solution to ease the burden life insurance underwriters experience due to these challenges. The solutions that have emerged are designed with a broad market view to support a multitude of industries with a single option output. Little thought has been put into the categories of information necessary to assess mortality or morbidity risk. Furthermore, there are limited options related to how to view the output and individual data sources have little financial incentive to modify or enhance their existing style sheets.
What has resulted is a lackluster response to helping the end users, the underwriters. The burden remains on underwriters to navigate through the record, weeding through pages of redundant medial data, which is both tedious and inefficient.
Improving the usability of data – MIB’s approach
As facilitators of data, MIB is focused on two key areas: 1) continuing to increase access to medical data and 2) improving the usability of data specifically for life insurance underwriting. We will achieve the latter by delivering a standardized and consolidated output presented in a way that expedites and enhances the underwriting process. This new view will provide a succinct summary of information to paint a clear picture of the client’s overall clinical health profile.
As we recently announced, MIB will collaborate with our strategic partner, DigitalOwl, who will organize and summarize the data sourced from our Electronic Medical Data (EMD) service. Reports will then be delivered to clients through the MIB EMD platform. The solution will transform the original source data from the disparate record sources and consolidate into a standardized single ‘underwriter friendly’ output called QuickView.
Carefully cultivated by underwriters for underwriters, and harnessing technology capabilities from DigitalOwl, this robust output will parse and surface the critical data elements important to mortality and morbidity risk assessment and provide navigation options to complement an individual underwriter’s review and documentation style.
Other benefits of this unique QuickView output include:
Have we met the criteria for ‘Better’ (√), in terms of solving for ‘ease of use’ for our underwriting community, I think so.
For more information about the new reports and our partnership with DigitalOwl – watch this video.
Carolyn McAvinn is the Director of Underwriting Innovations for MIB. Prior to joining MIB in late 2018, she held various underwriting roles supporting multiple companies, product lines and distribution platforms. These included underwriting management, direct line production underwriting in the life, disability and long-term care markets and assisting with the development of underwriting engine automation and accelerated underwriting programs. Carolyn is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and currently serves as a board member of the MUD (Metropolitan Underwriting Discussion) Group in NYC.