AI demystified – what’s the buzz?

By Uncategorized No Comments

Having been to several conferences, both in person and virtually, in the last couple of years and attended sessions which have included AI in the title, we have been disappointed by what we have seen and heard. All too often the use of the term has been misleading and suggesting an attempt to grab attention. We have started to wonder at what points management information (MI) or business intelligence (BI) becomes predictive modelling (PM) and then becomes machine learning (ML) and, to be honest, we have been struggling to make sense of it all. To be blunt, there seems to…

Read More

Noisy underwriting

By Uncategorized No Comments

Noisy underwriting? It’s when you give two underwriters a less than straightforward case to assess and they arrive at different decisions – maybe very different. Or if you asked an underwriter to assess a risk that he or she processed a while back, and the decision second time round is different from the first. Why might underwriting decisions might vary between individuals or within the work of the same underwriter? Different skill levels? Different intelligence levels?  Variations in mood? (Might Monday morning decisions differ from Friday afternoon ones? Or be influenced by a recent argument with a spouse/partner or friend…

Read More

Hypertension: Some re-thinking called for?

By Uncategorized No Comments

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common medical problem. It can be caused by a number of other medical conditions such as chronic kidney disease, thyroid disorders and other hormonal upsets, and a rare adrenal gland tumour called phaeochromocytoma. But most of the time hypertension has no obvious cause, although sometimes it is associated with overweight or a diet with an overly high salt content, and people of Afro-Caribbean heritage seem to be more susceptible to it. If left unchecked, high blood pressure can damage kidney function, enlarge the heart and accelerate the process of arterial degeneration; thus hypertension…

Read More

Underwriting automation: Continuing the journey

By Uncategorized No Comments

When you have deployed an underwriting engine, that is not the end of the journey. Quite the opposite: it is just the beginning. You will have done extensive testing before launch to check that the rules are applying the same underwriting philosophy as your human underwriters, so you can rightly have a lot of faith in the original set-up. However, you can’t test absolutely everything – every possible case, every possible scenario – so there is a need to monitor what the engine is doing, and in particular how the rules are working. If something is not quite right, some…

Read More

‘Access to insurance’: initiatives in the UK

By Uncategorized No Comments

‘Access to insurance’ is a term coined in the United Kingdom that refers to the ability of individuals to buy insurance cover. It came about as a result of concerns that people who present an extra risk, especially owing to a medical condition, should be enabled as far as possible to obtain cover in the interests of a fair and equal society. Recently an industry working party has been working on various ways to ensure fair access and to improve consumer understanding of underwriting and underwriting decisions. While this article was prompted by a UK-specific initiative, do stay with us….

Read More

Automation in life insurance underwriting

By Uncategorized No Comments

Underwriting engines have been around for over 20 years. Initially they were used in head offices, processing application form information keyed in by clerical staff, and avoiding the need for (expensive) underwriters spending time on the more straightforward cases. From there data entry migrated to the point of sale, but still often with processing and decision-making deferred until the information could be uploaded in a head-office environment. But since those early days, use of underwriting engines has grown, and in certain markets, such as the UK and Australia in which specialist medical information is used sparingly, underwriting automation has become…

Read More

Long COVID

By Uncategorized No Comments

COVID-19 is an acute, albeit sometimes fatal illness, right? Not necessarily so. While many who become infected by COVID-19 make a full recovery, a significant minority experience persisting symptoms. Indeed, the illness is highly variable in nature, with symptoms ranging from minimal (or even none) to severe respiratory distress and organ failure. In some cases respiratory symptoms may be absent. Risk of severe symptoms, need for hospitalisation and death appear to depend on a number of factors including age, gender, obesity, the presence of co-morbid conditions and ethnicity. The duration of in-patient hospitalisation can vary greatly: recently a man in…

Read More

COVID-19 – some insights

By Uncategorized No Comments

There remains much debate about Coronavirus and the many ways in which it has affected, is affecting and will affect societies: for example, the death tolls so far and in future, ways to suppress its activity, the value of testing, tracing and monitoring, the economic impact of ‘lockdowns’ and whether governments have responded appropriately in a timely manner. It is interesting to compare how countries around the world are doing in their battle to beat the virus. Joseph Lu, working on behalf of the COVID-19 Actuaries Response Group1, has published an analysis and concluded2 that many small countries from Albania…

Read More

The return of tele-interviewing?

By Uncategorized No Comments

We have always been fans of tele-interviewing and have authored or co-authored two seminal reports on the subject over the years1,2. Tele-interviews, when carried out by well trained individuals, ideally with a medical, nursing or underwriting background, can bring new and more detailed disclosures than may be the case when applicant is questioned by an agent or broker. Figures from Morgan Ash, a long-standing tele-interview provider in the UK which uses trained nurses to conduct its interviews, claims a significant improvement, bases on analyses, in disclosures and a reduction in the amount of missing information compared with an attending physicians…

Read More

Prognosis and survival in HIV infection

By Uncategorized No Comments

The news that a ‘second person’ (see later) has been cleared of HIV infection is a reminder that HIV infection is far from the death sentence it once was. It might also jog our industry’s collective conscience that many HIV-infected individuals are insurable risks and that protection cover might be found for more of them. The first person to become HIV-negative after having been infected was Timothy Brown, the so-called ‘Berlin patient’. Brown, an American citizen, was diagnosed with HIV in 1995 while studying in Berlin and began antiretroviral therapy. In 2006 he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia for…

Read More