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Data-driven innovation enables life insurance on-boardi...

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Data-driven innovation enables life insurance on-boarding from anywhere

A new data-driven innovation is merging the worlds of do-it-yourself online life insurance purchases and the holistic, invaluable advice provided by traditional, in-person, financial advice.

Virtual Underwriting is here. A secure, AI-aided, data-driven, digital solution that enables entirely contactless life insurance on-boarding at a time when people need it the most. 

All from the comfort of your … anywhere. 

With it, the uncomfortable need to recount your personal medical history, in person, with an advisor is becoming a thing of the past.

“Virtual underwriting is something that we designed because of the situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, where people have found themselves working digitally,” says Kashmeera Kanji, a senior actuarial risk specialist at Discovery Life. 

“So, we thought: ‘why not digitise one part of our new business process that hasn’t been digitised before?’ And that is the underwriting part of things”. 

The proprietary technology underlying Virtual Underwriting enables remote, digital consultations to take place between life insurance clients and qualified and experienced medical professionals who are equipped to make underwriting decisions in the quickest, most efficient manner possible. 

While the front-end experience is not dissimilar to that which many of us have become accustomed to when using digital meeting technologies, such as Zoom or MS Teams, the platform is distinctly secure, ensuring that no sensitive medical information is shared beyond the client and the insurer.

It improves the ease, and dramatically reduces some of the invasiveness, often associated with life insurance underwriting.

“People often find that underwriting is generally the most unpleasant part of the new business process,” says Kanji, “they simply don’t want to have to tell someone as familiar as their financial advisor about their personal, often sensitive, medical information, and that too, face-to-face”. 

Clients’ discomfort in discussing these details can lead to the inaccurate reporting or capturing of their medical information, which is essential to ensure that an appropriate life insurance policy is provided, and to avoid complications in the event of a claim. 

Virtual Underwriting helps to solve this while allowing financial advisors to focus on what they do best.  

“You’re getting the best of both worlds – you’re getting a digital feel to a product that’s backed by professional financial advice. You can buy a contactless policy, so the whole experience will be digital, but you will get the best advice from your financial adviser,” says Kanji.

In addition to facilitating the underwriting process from anywhere a client might be able to connect his or her phone or laptop to the internet, nifty data-driven technology significantly reduces the pain involved for clients, 

By incorporating data analysis and AI, Virtual Underwriting consolidates exhaustive medical questionnaires into a single, intelligently adaptive conversation. Other benefits such as digital signatures remove the need for scanning and signing of physical documents.  This significantly reduces the burden on clients while the streamlined process has been designed to reduce the wait time to activation of a policy within the same day in instances where we have enough data and information on the client. 

“Virtual Underwriting is an innovation that enabled brokers to continue to provide clients with life insurance at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when they needed it the most,” says Kanji. “Yet, even when the lockdown levels eased, we found a spike in the number of people using it. That’s indicative of people simply preferring this method of underwriting”.  

“It’s a Covid-necessitated innovation that’s here to stay –there’s a lot of work that we’re doing over and above what’s already been built to continuously evolve and grow the capabilities of Virtual Underwriting.” DM


Discovery Life Limited. Registration number 1966/003901/06, is a licensed life insurer, an authorised financial services and registered credit provider, NCR registration number NCRCP3555. Product rules, terms and conditions apply. 


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