Big Data’s Growing Influence
In the past decade, the term "big data" has entered the collective consciousness. So, what exactly is big data and what does it have to do with life insurance? Turns out, a lot. But before we delve into all that, let’s take a step back to look at the bigger picture.
Big data is all about finding trends among huge swaths of information (i.e., data) to provide a better experience for end users. It’s how Amazon can recommend products we might like, Netflix can suggest shows for our queue, and iTunes knows what songs we want to hear. In fact, the search engine that may have directed you to this very article relies on big data as well.
Combine big data with today’s advanced technology and you have customers who are more digitally savvy and demanding of customized products and services that offer them greater speed, freedom, and flexibility. “That demand carries over to the life insurance purchasing journey," says Nils Gyllenhammer, Vice President of Research and Development. "At Prudential, we continue to evolve and embrace new technologies that can help advisors meet clients’ ever-changing needs and expectations."
Big Data Meets Accelerated Underwriting
The truth is, traditional underwriting is typically very time-consuming. First, clients have to schedule medical exams, which may not be a priority for them. Second, there can be lots of "back and forth" between the client, the advisor, and the insurance company. This all adds up to a lot of “wait time” for clients.
Many life insurance companies have turned to big data technology to create accelerated underwriting as a solution that can help clients overcome the obstacles of traditional life insurance underwriting. Accelerated underwriting is an innovative new approach that eliminates the need for a medical exam and a lot of the back and forth that keeps clients waiting. Without the medical exam and requirements, the entire underwriting process speeds along and approvals come sooner.
How does this technology identify healthy individuals without a medical exam? Insurance companies can use a big data approach to “teach” machine learning algorithms how to identify healthy clients. If a new application has similar characteristics to a policy that was issued as a healthy life in the past, the model will identify it as one that qualifies for an accelerated underwriting decision. Companies may then corroborate some of the information by accessing existing records online. For example, by scanning pharmacy and motor vehicle databases, it can be determined if an applicant is a reckless driver or takes medication for a serious heart condition.
Accelerated Underwriting Comes to Prudential
Prudential offers its own version of accelerated underwriting through PruFast Track. The goal of PruFast Track is to use electronic solutions and big data to streamline the process for purchasing life insurance. A critical aspect of the process is identifying applicants with exceptional health and approving their policies without an invasive medical exam. For some clients, additional underwriting evidence may be required, and Prudential will gather that evidence right away to help come to a final underwriting decision. Advisors are kept in the loop about the status of the client’s application every step of the way.
“We’ve found that clients get policies placed 2 to 4 weeks faster than they would with traditional underwriting. Most clients are receiving approvals within 48 hours, as opposed to several weeks.”1 says Gyllenhammer.
So far, PruFast Track has been a hit with financial advisors. They’re saying great things like: “Everybody at my office raves about the Fast Track.” “Placing life insurance is so much faster now.” “I love how easy PruFast Track is and my clients are happy with quicker approvals.”
Besides making life easier for financial advisors, PruFast Track also helps advisors build even more trust with their clients. Clients love hearing from their advisors that they’ve been approved for life insurance within days, and without giving blood or urine samples. It’s a pleasant surprise for clients who may have been steeling themselves for a long decision process.
Check out PruXpress Secured link opens in a new window to discover more about Prudential’s Accelerated Underwriting Difference.