There's no one size fits all underwriting

Helen Croft  Underwriting and Claims Strategy Manager

Thursday 09 May 2019

Young woman using her phone to film her child on their tablet.

Simple underwriting is a hot topic. Various propositions have been brought to market in the last year with shorter, faster or streamlined underwriting. It can be a contentious issue; either evoking delight at the prospect of short, simple, online journeys or seen as a barrier to access to insurance for declining more people. In reality, there are many differing types of simple underwriting journeys.

Twenty years ago, insurers had one option: a paper application reviewed manually by underwriters. Products, application processes and underwriting methods have evolved and now there are many different routes to buying insurance that can be adapted to suit a particular market or group of customers. The majority of journeys are now online making it easier to buy insurance from different places, including comparison sites with ‘buy now’ prices. Underwriting is an important tool in managing risk, price and customer experience so it shouldn’t be one-size fits all. Part of the challenge of development underwriting is understanding different customers and providing the appropriate solutions.

Customers have individual needs and lifestyles so it’s great that as an industry we can offer various solutions to reflect this and provide insurance to more people.

What simple underwriting is

Simple underwriting is a blanket term applied where there is either a reduced question set or increased automation. This covers a broad spectrum of scenarios ranging from a five-question underwriting journey as part of a mortgage application to a fully underwritten shortened application form. The proposition, price and underwriting stances can be vastly different.

The key advantage to simple underwriting is that it reduces the time taken and evidence needed to get insurance. Some simple underwriting solutions can provide cheaper alternatives for people on different budgets or people who need a more basic product. Other simple underwriting solutions will mean a more expensive product as underwriting is reduced, meaning more risks have been pooled together.

Instant Life Insurance

In 2017, we launched our Instant Life Insurance to the intermediary market, as a quick and easy fully-automated underwriting journey that takes less than eight minutes to complete. It’s available as level, indexed or decreasing term cover.

Pre-existing conditions are allowed

Simple underwriting doesn’t mean we turn away clients with pre-existing medical conditions, as more than 85% of people who apply for Instant Life Insurance get cover1. There are over 500 expert online underwriting rules working behind the scenes to offer as many people as possible access to insurance, in a quick, easy and affordable way1.

  • 94% of people who tell us they have raised blood pressure are accepted for Instant Life Insurance
  • 94% of people who tell us about their experience with stress, anxiety or depression are accepted for Instant Life Insurance
  • People with a BMI of up to 44 can be accepted for Instant Life Insurance1
Making sure it’s suitable

Every person is different so we need to make sure that we have different underwriting processes and products to fit. There are scenarios where people may not be offered one simple underwriting product but this doesn’t mean they can’t get access to other products with different product parameters or underwriting rules.  For example, someone with a complex medical history might be better off applying for life insurance through a fully underwritten product that gives providers like AIG access to medical records so an underwriter can assess their case individually.  Only you can know which type is best suited to your client and it’s good to understand how underwriting works so that you can get more of your clients the insurance they need.

Find out more

If you would like to know more about Instant Life Insurance, or any of AIG Life’s other protection solutions, please call our Sales team on 0345 600 6829 or email:


  1. AIG Internal MI April 2019