Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Set to Revolutionise Life and Health Insurance Underwriting, says Swiss Re
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Set to Revolutionise Life and Health Insurance Underwriting, says Swiss Re
Swiss Re's comprehensive research reveals the role of digital Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in expediting and enhancing underwriting decisions in the life and health insurance sector.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Set to Revolutionise Life and Health Insurance Underwriting, says Swiss Re

The news comes following the EU’s recent announcement that a new framework for a European digital identity (eID) has been reached – and will establish an all-encompassing digital identity for all European citizens, which includes capacity for EHR data. 

However, recent studies conducted by Swiss Re in collaboration with leading life insurance carriers reveal that EHRs possess the potential to transform the traditional underwriting process. This would translate into swifter and less invasive decisions for customers, a more individualised risk assessment by underwriters, and the preservation of mortality expectations.

The research findings indicate a potential paradigm shift, suggesting that EHRs could replace Attending Physician Statements (APS) in nearly 50% of cases that originally relied solely on APS. 

By substituting routine age and amount requirements, such as labs and APS, with EHRs, the underwriting timeline can be significantly reduced from the conventional 15 days to as little as 2 days—making the process up to seven times faster. Moreover, the studies highlight the mortality benefits derived from the adoption of EHRs, as demonstrated through protective value studies.

“These study results underscore the need for adaptability and forward thinking when it comes to underwriting solutions,” said Michael Bacon, Head US L&H Globals, Swiss Re. “EHRs can benefit the underwriting process by reducing redundant requirement ordering and eliminating the traditional age and amount approach.”

In the last 24 months, Swiss Re assembled a cross-functional team consisting of actuarial, data science, and underwriting experts. Their objective was to conduct an extensive analysis evaluating the efficacy of replacing traditional requirements with Electronic Health Records (EHRs). 

The analysis involved collecting EHR records on cases, comparing potential risk class decisions using EHRs to the issue decisions based on conventional requirements like Paramed exams, labs, and/or Attending Physician Statements (APS). The analysis results underscored that EHRs can effectively replace traditional age and amount requirements, offering a quicker and non-invasive underwriting process for a significant volume of customers.

“At John Hancock, we have worked with Swiss Re as part of our commitment to making the underwriting and purchase process as seamless as possible,” said Neal Halder, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, John Hancock. “We believe that the use of Electronic Health Records creates opportunities to offer a wider range of customers a less invasive process and faster underwriting decisions. This promising research is an important step in innovating across the underwriting process while maintaining mortality expectations.”

In order to adopt EHRs and manage the transition for underwriters, Swiss Re developed the Underwriting Ease software, which expands the use of EHRs through a visualised user interface to deliver enhanced experience to policyholders. The Underwriting Ease platform enables underwriters to streamline EHR ingestion and tie them together with disclosures in one intuitive view. This allows users to easily highlight key risks and associated severities, compile related information from various EHR sections into one place, and flexibly navigate through reports.

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