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Underwriting and claims handling

Munich Re is at the forefront of progress in underwriting and claims handling, striving to keep life insurance a sustainable and attractive option for the future.

Effective risk management delivers security and profitability

Fast route to insurance
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Speed and comfort
What customers expect from life insurance

Underwriting and claims are the two key pillars of risk management for life insurers. These elements determine how profitable and secure a portfolio is and whether or not the insurance risk will ultimately materialise. On the one hand,...  

And on the other hand, underwriting and claims handling processes have a significant influence on your image and reputation as an insurer. Your clients and sales partners want simple processes delivered with optimum speed and efficiency, short waiting periods and maximum convenience when it comes to processing applications and claims.  

Automated, digitalised underwriting and claims handling are the keys to success. We capitalise on these aspects by harnessing our decades of experience and our global expertise in both fields in smart, perfectly integrated solutions. We can help you to develop efficient processes, give you a competitive edge and use effective risk management to deliver security and profitability.  

Market-leading risk management expertise translated into integrated solutions

In our increasingly digital world, detailed health questions often become obstacles to developing new business. We have a new approach: 4+2.

With 4+2 smart underwriting, a new application could contain just four simple medical questions plus two supplementary questions, instead of the 30 plus questions asked currently. This could lead to greater acceptance in the market and with end clients, and therefore generate more new business.

With 4+2 smart underwriting, we begin by analysing applications and early-claims data and then work with you to compile a set of questions tailored to your specific products and sales channels. Our joint focus therefore remains on balanced risk management and the avoidance of adverse selection.

The benefits of smart underwriting

  • A clear set of basic questions with flexible expansion options 
  • Limited questions expressed in layperson's terms improve the customer experience
  • Significant reduction in underwriting effort
  • Improved clarity
10 %
Only 10 % of applicants answer yes when asked if they have medical conditions that fall into the "spine, back, neck" group.
70 %
Around 70 % of applicants give a positive response to the standard question about diagnostic examinations such as x-rays, CT scans or MRIs.

Life insurers must reduce their internal costs if they want to remain competitive, yet clients and external sales partners expect first-class service and increasingly streamlined processes. It is possible to satisfy both these requirements with the innovative automation solutions provided by Munich Re — such as those for underwriting.

It's all about automated underwriting. We develop solutions that allow the time-consuming and costly process of verifying the application details to be completed directly with the client. This leads to quick decisions, high immediate acceptance rates and increased new business as a result. 

The solutions can be implemented in a variety of ways, including automated underwriting at the point of sale, tele-underwriting or hybrid solutions for bancassurance. Acceptance in the market and among clients is essential for the success of these solutions, as are solutions that are compatible with the product portfolio and company objectives. With this framework in place, automated underwriting can tap into additional sales channels and client groups that will consolidate the sales organisation and optimise the value chain.

The benefits of automated underwriting

  • Quick processing times deliver improved customer retention
  • Fewer queries for sales and applicants
  • Structured risk assessment creates transparency and legal certainty
  • Systematic documentation leads to enhanced data quality
  • Reduced process and handling costs
  • Easy development of additional sales channels
  • More new business as a result of higher conversion rates

Complex risks present a considerable challenge for risk assessors. In order to produce assessments that are commensurate with the risk, they need access to the latest scientific findings and must be able to make reliable judgements on a large number of prognostic factors – and all this needs to happen on an individual basis, in as much detail as possible, and always with reference to the latest knowledge.  

The ideal tool to deliver all this capability is MIRA. This online underwriting solution from Munich Re evolves continuously to keep pace with developments and provides a convenient framework for us to share our global risk knowledge with life insurers. The benefits for you: 

Legal certainty for long-term business success
MIRA provides underwriting based on the latest scientifically proven data, delivering verifiable risk assessments. It helps you to comply with all the relevant legal requirements – in particular anti-discrimination legislation –and guarantees long-term business success. 

Active portfolio management 
MIRA supports customised underwriting based on the latest findings, allowing you to actively incorporate the "good" risks into your portfolio and make lasting improvements to your business situation. 

Expedited processes 
With its intelligent decision trees, MIRA quickly and purposefully guides the risk assessor to an equitable decision, even if not all of the relevant information is available. This expedites the process of accepting applications. 

New business potential 
MIRA uses the latest scientific findings to produce a substantially more sophisticated evaluation of medical risks, resulting in enhanced insurability and tapping into new business potential. 

MIRA's innovative multi-risk calculator illustrates how we can incorporate the latest medical findings into each risk assessment with a view to opening up new business opportunities.  

With the introduction of the multi-risk calculator, BMI (Body Mass Index) is no longer the only criterion for estimating metabolic risks. This is no bad thing, as studies show that being overweight is not necessarily linked with an increased probability of mortality. To determine the mortality risk, it is necessary to look at how BMI, blood pressure, blood lipid levels and smoker/non-smoker status interact. With the multi-risk calculator, this is now a simple task.

Claims handling is one of the central pillars of risk management for life insurance. This is due in part to the fact that, from the client's perspective, it is only when a claim is made that you find out how quickly, fairly and transparently your life insurer operates. In addition, the insurance sector is increasingly faced with the need to employ excellent claims management and efficient claims processes in order to minimise the financial impact of insurance risks.

Munich Re supports primary insurers: 

  • With rule-based automation solutions for claims handling, such as CLARA
  • With intelligent, continuously evolving tools such as MIRA Claims, which help claims handlers with their day-to-day work
  • With internal medical, careers and legal experts who can provide specialist support as needed
  • With regular monitoring and market-wide benchmarking of the key performance indicators (KPIs) for claims management 
  • With decades of experience in claims management

This all adds up to one thing: You, as a life insurer, can enjoy optimum legal and decision-making certainty, reduce your administrative and processing costs and improve your response times. And this last point is what it's all about, because the length of time it takes to make a decision about a claim is one of the main causes of dissatisfied clients and drops in ratings. This is what drove us to develop CLARA, a tool that digitalises and expedites the claims handling process while maintaining good consistency in terms of decisions and reducing employee workload. 

A further benefit of CLARA is that it provides a data set from which to analyse all claims. To make this possible, the data for all rejected claims is logged alongside that for loss events that resulted in a benefit being paid out, giving CLARA the foundation for systematic use of data analytics. Data analytics can be used for tasks such as early identification of claims trends with a view to adjusting products or pricing accordingly.  

Your partner for the "mental health" challenge
Digitalisation, automated processes and new ideas can also help when it comes to dealing with the challenges presented by the "mental health" benefit trigger. Munich Re has for some time now been researching the reasons behind the increase in life and health insurance claims relating to mental illness. We are using the findings from our research as the basis for extending our range of automated solutions. 

The benefits of rule-based automation: For common diagnoses—including those on the complex psychiatric spectrum—it is possible to produce a reliable loss analysis tailored to the professional requirements specification. Claims handlers receive effective support when determining the specific work limitations (level of occupational disability). Transparency of decisions increases and there is a focus on material medical aspects that are also important for subsequent verification. All these factors lead to an improved claims handling process. Any if there are any aspects of a particular case that our tools alone cannot tackle, our experts will be on hand to help you as always.

4 reasons to choose Munich Re

4+2
questions
With smart underwriting, four simple medical questions and two supplementary questions is now all it takes to complete the underwriting process
A wide range of automated underwriting solutions for underwriting at the point of sale, via tele-underwriting and via hybrid solutions
Good legal certainty in underwriting and claims as a result of evidence-based decisions founded on the latest knowledge
Direct support from Munich Re's medical, careers and actuarial experts at any time if needed

Tools und Services

Contact our experts
Thomas Geißler
Head of Section Underwriting Life International
Alban Senn
Alban Senn
Head of Section International Claims
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