One thing I've noticed about our industry is that we do like to confuse ourselves. I'm sure it's the same whichever industry you work in, but the amount of jargon and abbreviations thrown around by the insurance industry is enough to create a new dictionary. Perhaps somebody should write one to help avoid the confusion sometimes caused by using terms interchangeably.
Take a minute to think about ‘Tele-interviewing’ and ‘Tele-underwriting’. What do they mean to you? Whilst they are always used in the context of an application for a protection product, they often seem to be used interchangeably when it comes to the actual processes.
Tele-interviewing, is really just capturing information over the phone. This could be the full application questions or just more specific underwriting information e.g. as some companies do with nurses to replace the need for a GPR. Tele-undewriting, to me, means a person who calls the life to be covered and asks the questions on the application form. They may drill down and ask more detail where a question is answered yes, and are then able to make a decision.
A data capture process, which I’ve recently seen referred to as TDC (Tele Data Capture), just adds to the confusion. In some ways Tele-interviewing is a subset of Tele-underwriting. I’m not totally sure where an underlying electronic underwriting system fits into this, is it Tele-underwriting when a decision is made electronically? After all it is designed to do a similar job to that of a human underwriter. Some people would say it is, some people would say it’s really just data capture. Probably depends upon the sophistication of the system.
I think the lesson for me out of the potential confusion caused by a couple of simple phrases is that we really need to take care when we communicate, and this clear communication needs to go all the way down the line from providers to intermediaries, intermediaries to customers and providers when they communicate directly to customers. That way we will all know our Tele-underwriting ankle from our Tele-interviewing elbow.
Mark Jones is protection products and actuarial manager at Friends Provident.
The views expressed are those of the individual and not necessarily the company he represents.IFAonline
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