Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII) announces ‘landmark’ pan-industry agreement
The UK private medical insurance (PMI) has reached an agreement to adopt the electronic transfer of underwriting between insurers, following an industry-wide consultation led by AMII executive chairman Stuart Scullion.
According to the trade body, all of those active in the company paid market have signed up, with a couple of exceptions who have indicated their willingness to participate, but for internal reasons may be unable to hit the start date of 1 July.
Known as the Transfer of Personal Data & Underwriting initiative, the pan-industry agreement is for business transferring between insurers for company schemes, both SME and corporate. It will involve a number of new protocols for intermediaries and insurers, regardless of whether they are AMII members.
Operational and customer-facing staff at major health insurers are currently being trained to use the new processes, which will involve the transfer of encrypted data files to nominated email addresses at each insurer as a secure data transfer.
For larger insurers, the process will be automated, with greater manual intervention for smaller firms. A five working day industry-wide service level has also been agreed.
Scullion described the agreement, which took 12 weeks to develop, as an "immensely proud moment". He added that the speed of the initiative has been driven by a need for the health insurance industry to adapt to challenges posed by Covid-19 social-distancing measures.
Scullion said: "It makes no sense for intermediaries to visit their offices to collect membership certificates and underwriting to facilitate policy transfers to another provider when there is a readymade solution at our fingertips.
"I am immensely proud of what we have been able to achieve as an industry in adopting a digital process to exchange personal data and underwriting directly between insurers.
"It's an agreement which has no doubt been accelerated by the once-in-a-lifetime circumstances created by the coronavirus, and the challenges faced by the PMI industry driven by GDPR and the new Data Protection Act.
"There have been many challenges to overcome as we sought to agree a process and establish a protocol, and I want to extend my personal thanks to the representatives of all those insurers who have shown the vision and determination which has enabled this to happen."
Vitality has announced it is already allowing the transfer of data in relation to company-paid schemes, should customers be transferring from insurer, and will send all required underwriting data for its insured membership to any new insurer.
It said all other insurers participating in the scheme have agreed to do the same, in a bid to streamline the underwriting process for advisers and reduce the need for visits to offices to collect physical copies of membership certificates.
Greg Levine, managing director, sales and distribution at Vitality, said: "We are proud to be taking part in this important initiative which will support intermediaries and the PMI industry during the Covid-19 outbreak and beyond. Now more than ever, collaboration and open communication is vital for industry to continue to support customers and the UK health service."