New Research Project Explores Impact of Health Data on Insurance

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and SAMI Consulting are launching a new research project to explore how the digitisation of medical records can improve access to protection.

As more medical records are digitalised and health data is collected on apps, wearable tech and voluntarily offered to health service providers; there is a wealth of underwriting data available to insurers. This new research project will explore how this can be used for the benefit of the customer to provide greater access to insurance and protection products.

In particular, customers with pre-existing conditions may benefit from faster application and claims processes, as it becomes easier for insurers to establish the facts faster, without having to wait for medical records. Currently, the claims process can vary from days to weeks, and this can be largely due to establishing medical information.

Richard Walsh, Fellow of SAMI and research lead, said:

“In an ideal world, digitalisation of medical records should create far greater engagement between patients and their medical conditions to improve their prognosis and increase their wellbeing. We are already seeing this through the growth in health apps and to some extent though the availability of data through summary care records available on line. For consumers, it could lead to greater trust and claims certainty because underwriting would be based on medical records and not applicant memory. As for GPs, it could create cost savings and save time responding to life insurance medical report requests.

The CII and SAMI Consulting are consulting with a wide range of stakeholders across the medical profession, insurance sector and consumer groups to collect evidence for a report, which will be published later in the year. The report will lay the foundation for secure, ethical sharing of digital data in order to benefit consumers.

Dr Matthew Connell, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the CII, said:

“Consumers are more aware than ever of the value and importance of their personal data, and this initiative is an excellent example of professionals taking the initiative in setting strong standards that both protect consumers and realise the opportunities involved in digitalisation.

“New technology is moving fast and we will explore how the future might look like in this field. While our focus will be on protection insurance there may also be implications for other sectors regarding sharing digitalised medical information.”

The project is also being supported by a working group of experts from AIG, iPipeline, Legal and General, Munich Re, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, Royal London, The Exeter and Zurich Life UK.