The Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) push to increase use of electronic GP reports to reduce prolonged waits for cover has been welcomed as advisers have detailed how delays continue to affect them and their clients.
Last week an ABI report called on insurers firms to use electronic health records and make it easier for general practitioners to do so as well.
In an exclusive article for Health & Protection, the trade body also detailed how it felt the current statutory mechanism for obtaining medical information for insurance was “no longer fit for purpose”.
It is calling for a review of the process, noting that while it might have been the right approach at the time it now needed overhauling.
Andrew Wilkinson, director of Moneysworth, welcomed the moves and told Health & Protection he could not stress how much his organisation had been pushing for changes behind the scenes.
“We were aware the ABI was carrying out research with GPs,” Wilkinson continued.
“It is great to see the acknowledgement of the real problems that exist and a plan to work in collaboration with other key stakeholders to accelerate and streamline the use of electronic reports for the mutual benefit of all
“As an adviser firm with a specialism in dealing with complex medical cases we have become increasing concerned at the lengthening of many customer journeys in the last few years leaving many consumers in limbo and without the cover they need awaiting medical evidence.
“For our customers the ABI announcement is especially welcome.”
‘Passing the buck’
The issue was also a key concern for advisers who attended the Women in Protection Network conference last week.
At the event advisers told Health & Protection about their problems with getting hold of GP reports.
Katie Parrish, mortgage protection adviser at Avalon Options, explained how the issue was often passed around with no-one taking responsibility.
“The GP surgeries are saying it’s the protection agency, the protection agency are saying it’s the GPs not getting back to them quick enough,” she said.
“Then sometimes they refer it back to the client but it’s not to do with the client.
“It seems that no-one’s talking to each other and they are constantly trying to pass the buck on to someone else and we’re the ones that are constantly chasing to find out where this GP report is.
“Again that means the client waits longer and they are not likely to be insured straight away.”
Parish also expressed frustration at the amount of time it takes to chase these reports.
“We’re there to sell, we’re there to protect, we’re there to be there for our clients,” she continued.
“But instead I’m acting as a go between with the GP surgery and the insurers, and it’s just not so much a waste of my time but I could be more proactive doing other things.”
Sam Cross, protection adviser at the Affinity Group, shared Parish’s concerns around getting further medical information, but added sending out detailed medical question forms to customers helped alleviate the situation somewhat.
“We don’t really struggle getting the information from the client, but it’s after that information goes to a provider and maybe they need to write to GPs – that’s the struggle – it’s getting that information,” she said.