How efficiency drives efficacy in Underwriting.

How efficiency drives efficacy in Underwriting.

Operational efficiency has always been the key focus for any professional services business, but where you also operate in a tough regulatory environment, it’s even more critical. However, not only do Risk Advisers face an increased cost of compliance (and seemingly endless change), they’re also seeing reduced income from commissions. And while compliance and commissions take up a lot of focus and airtime these two factors are somewhat immovable – as they are legislated.

So where can you get some of that margin back? Your major supplier is the first place to look.

I spoke at a professional development day recently and was asked to go back in time a bit and look at recent history in life insurance. For the ‘this is my first job’ demographic within the audience, I passed around a ‘memo’ from 1989 – a quaint, hand typed missive that would wander around inboxes back then… which were actually boxes that sat on your desk. Then came the fax machine. Then came email. Now we have portals and applications – that process work in real-time.

What is important to highlight here is not the history lesson itself, but to understand that with changes in technology there are changes in expectations, and life insurance has always been a people business, and an emotional one. What we do and what we say has implications for people’s lives and livelihood, so the time taken becomes a reflection of that importance. It was ok to call someone back a few days later, now a same day response is appropriate (ideally within a few hours).

At Integrity, we have embraced technology to the extent that is can speed up processes that don’t need my attention so that ultimately, I have more time to do the human stuff. Like speak to Advisers, provide considered decisions, facilitate their advice, understand their business, and clients.  

Underwriters, policy administrators, and even more importantly, claims managers – need to be efficient with the routine stuff – get it right every time – so they can concentrate on the less routine. But those less routine issues are the ones that really count in life insurance. The ability to consider and write a contract so a customer can take a risk and start or expand their business. The customer on claim, who could use a slightly longer chat with their claims manager, or adviser. To help them through that time.

And, you know what? More time spent talking about the needs of our customers, supported by great digital tools – might go some way to making this business fun again. Fun because we can engage more, riskies are fun people! And having done our job from sale to claim, we can also be satisfied we’ve met our noble purpose.

Scott Hodgson

Scott Hodgson

Chief Underwriter

Ideas to attract new buyers to advice and insurance.

Ideas to attract new buyers to advice and insurance.

This is excerpt from “The Fight for Future Markets Report. Attracting Millennials to advice and insurance”

In our report we suggest some ideas to help attract new business. For the full content and report you can download it here.


  1. Broaden the relevance of life insurance for those without kids by highlighting the benefits and need for TPD and Income Protection.

One of the biggest barriers to getting millennials on board with life insurance is their belief that it isn’t relevant to them. While many are interested in learning more about life policies and even open to purchasing them, there is a common perception that if you don’t have children, large debts or a spouse, then life insurance isn’t for you. Millennials without children need support in understanding that the range of life insurance on offer includes policies appropriate for their individual circumstances, and that there is a cost benefit in taking these out early. Make sure your value proposition stresses that life insurance can be and is relevant to young, single and childless Australians too.

  1. Consider experiments in low-cost advice as referrers (e.g. help them validate their research).

Millennials want premium advice, but the challenge is they’re not willing to pay for it. One way to bring forward the benefit and help them see how financial advice could assist them, is to help them dip their toe in the water through low-touch, low-cost interactions. Offering robo-advice, supplemented by a short in-person discussion to walk through the recommendations and make adjustments where necessary, could be a good way to start building a relationship and help embed yourself as a trusted partner who’s there for them – on their terms. Alternatively, you might consider the possibility of offering ‘validation consultations’, whereby young Australians with a desire to be independent and self-sufficient can independently compare policies and then come to you for questions or support before making the final decision themselves. Focus on the experience and encouraging reviews, not trying to lock them in for the long-term. They may be saying ‘no’ to the model, not the value.

  1. Project-based selling and financial coaching. 

While traditional full-service financial or risk advice may not be right for millennials right now, this doesn’t mean the door is closed altogether. You might choose to provide low-cost financial or risk ‘coaching’ to young clients who are simply interested in improving their financial literacy, and progress to fully-fledged advice and product recommendations as the client progresses through life stages. What if the initial focus was solely on coaching them to achieve their goals?

Fixed-cost packages with premiums and payouts tailored to life stage are an opportunity to offer transparent, simplified options for younger customers who are looking to get started with life insurance but aren’t ready to commit to a more complex decision-making processes.


Integrity Life

Integrity Life

From the newsroom

HIV and blood borne disease, what you need to know.

HIV and blood borne disease, what you need to know.

Advances in medicine have meant that people living with HIV (PLHIV) have a life expectancy that is approaching the same as the general population1. In fact, PLHIV who are taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) cannot sexually transmit the virus to others2.

Furthermore, with increased education and the introduction of the drug Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), HIV in Australia continues to decline3. Despite the facts, there is still a lot of disproportionate fear in the community which often creates stigma against those with HIV. This can lead to further health issues for PLHIV as well as a reluctance to seek treatment, which further complicates eradicating the transmission of the disease4. Similarly, Hep C also elicits a response that hasn’t kept pace with medical treatments and advancements5.

Below are some common questions we get from Advisers and their clients with Integrity’s position based on the most current research and thinking.

Q: If a medical practitioner needs to be tested for HIV or Hep C, would they be eligible for Income Insurance benefits, as they would be unable to work for up to 6 months, right?

A: The window period for HIV is now 18-45 days with some very, very rare cases taking up to 6 months to show up, so it’s very unlikely they would need to be away from work for an extended period of time. Additionally, the current guidelines6 don’t require a medical practitioner to cease practicing while they are waiting on test results unless there is a very large chance that they know they were exposed to someone who is a carrier for an infectious virus.

For Hep C, a special kind of blood test called a nucleic acid test (NAT) that detects HCV RNA (also called a PCR test) can tell if a person is infected within 1–2 weeks of exposure7.  


Q: What if the medical practitioner was advised in an official capacity (by their employer or official Association) that they’re not permitted to work, would we pay a monthly benefit then?

A: Generally, yes. If a medical practitioner is compelled not to work in an official capacity, then we would consider paying a monthly Income Insurance benefit.

Q: If they do end up having HIV or HEP C, doesn’t this mean they won’t be able to work? And therefore, would we pay Income Insurance benefits?

A: Contracting HIV or Hep C in Australia in 2021 is not a death sentence. Medical practitioners living with HIV or Hep C are permitted to continue performing the duties of their usual occupation as long as they are under the care of another doctor and following the prescribed treatment and guidelines. Additionally, due to privacy legislation associations such as Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) are not even allowed to ask if a person is HIV/Hep positive as all. Medical practitioners are required to follow universal precautions to prevent the transmission of HIV (regardless of their status).


HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks cells that help the body fight infection, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. It is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of a person with HIV, most commonly during unprotected sex (sex without a condom or HIV medicine to prevent or treat HIV), or through sharing injection drug equipment. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the disease AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The human body can’t get rid of HIV and no effective HIV cure exists. So, once you have HIV, you have it for life. However, by taking HIV medicine (called antiretroviral therapy or ART), people with HIV can live long and healthy lives and prevent transmitting HIV to their sexual partners. In addition, there are effective methods to prevent getting HIV through sex or drug use, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). First identified in 1981, HIV is the cause of one of humanity’s deadliest and most persistent epidemics.

AIDS is the late stage of HIV infection that occurs when the body’s immune system is badly damaged because of the virus. In [Australia], most people with HIV do not develop AIDS because taking HIV medicine every day as prescribed stops the progression of the disease. A person with HIV is considered to have progressed to AIDS when: the number of their CD4 cells falls below 200 cells per cubic millimeter of blood (200 cells/mm3). (In someone with a healthy immune system, CD4 counts are between 500 and 1,600 cells/mm3.) OR they develop one or more opportunistic infections regardless of their CD4 count. Without HIV medicine, people with AIDS typically survive about 3 years. Once someone has a dangerous opportunistic illness, life expectancy without treatment falls to about 1 year. HIV medicine can still help people at this stage of HIV infection, and it can even be lifesaving. But people who start ART soon after they get HIV experience more benefits—that’s why HIV testing is so important.” 8



    Integrity Life

    Integrity Life

    From the newsroom

    You and your clients deserve better. A true partner for life.

    You and your clients deserve better. A true partner for life.

    The latest Adviser Ratings survey has been released and it’s not great news for some large, established insurers. The 2020 survey shows that Advisers are deeply unhappy with the service levels and support they’re receiving. This continues to trend downwards from 2019… despite lots of feedback from the industry. The message from these large, established insurers to advisers is pretty clear. If it were a romantic relationship they are saying “We’re just not that into you.”   

    Time to break-up?

    Why stay trapped in an unhappy relationship when you have choice? Perhaps it is time to break up. Integrity Life brings no baggage to a new relationship. We are digitally enabled and legacy free. We are very proud to be on the podium and ranked second in the industry for adviser advocacy in the latest Adviser Ratings Survey for:

    • Ease in underwriting
    • Platform functionality
    • Insurer competitiveness
    • Adviser support and
    • Overall NPS (pictured).

    In addition to that, we got the highest rating on the charts for both ‘New Adviser Support’ and ‘Easy to understand documentation’ which are two areas we know are important to Advisers.

    As the ‘new kid on the block’ we’re really happy with these results and it’s an achievement we couldn’t have made without the support and feedback from Advisers. We have always believed that listening, learning and then acting on Adviser feedback would be the secret to success, so to have this validated by the largest industry survey of its kind is absolutely wonderful!  

    On behalf of Integrity, I would like to thank all the Advisers who have taken the time to provide their feedback through the Adviser Ratings survey. I hope that over the last 2+ years, Integrity has demonstrated a commitment to co-creating the kinds of product and service models that support Advisers in the ways they need to deliver the best outcomes for their clients.  

    What your business needs is more of you. So, let’s free up your time.

    Our focus for 2021 is to continue to drive efficiency in how we do business and how we work with Advisers, partners and their clients. It’s not just so that you’re not spending time ‘dealing with us’, we also want to support you in having easier client interactions, simplified compliance, and help you manage renewals. We believe that’s what Advisers need.

    Maybe it’s time for you to see other people?

    We would love to get to know you better and you should know, we’ve been working hard on ourselves. So, if you haven’t had a look at Integrity for a while there have been some big improvements you may not be across.

    One of our most recent product updates included enhancements and changes that Advisers requested, with more to follow later in the year. Integrity’s retail products are now more flexible and easier to compare and with additional included value and features. Plus, all this was delivered without any changes to pricing (something Advisers also asked for!) You can read more about this significant update here.

    There have also been a lot of positive changes to improve the application and underwriting process – making it even smoother. Examples include the new paramedical provider panel and Application Concierge – which is speeding up the applications with great initial results.

    Got an idea or feedback?

    We would love to hear from you. Integrity is committed to being the best ‘partner for life’ and that starts with listening. Please get in contact via this form or pick up the phone and we can arrange a time to chat.

    We’re looking forward to delivering even better results with your support – and of course, your invaluable feedback.

    If you would like to learn more about what else we’re up to, I invite you to see how Integrity is the perfect partner – for life!

    Sean McCormack

    Sean McCormack

    Managing Director and CEO

    Will getting the COVID-19 vaccine impact my ability to claim?

    Will getting the COVID-19 vaccine impact my ability to claim?

    We have seen a few comments across social media in regard to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. The question seems to be, because a vaccine is ‘self-inflicted’ that potentially an insurer wouldn’t cover damage or death as a result. We wanted to make it absolutely clear from our perspective where we stand.

    If someone is already insured with us, then they are covered under the terms of that contract. So, they can make a claim based on the products they have in place – whether the claim is triggered by COVID-19 or anything else.

    Since the onset of COVID-19, we have made a commitment (and stuck to it) not to have any specific or contractual exclusions related to COVID-19, that includes in respect to being vaccinated.

    So, in short, getting the vaccine will not impact your ability to make a claim at Integrity.

    Of course, for new applications we reserve the right to underwrite the risk presented by each individual and if someone has been infected with COVID-19 and are experiencing symptoms, then we have to decide whether to accept them and on what terms (but just like any other impairment).

    The same is true for the vaccine, if we are underwriting a new application and the COVID-19 vaccine (or any vaccine for that matter) causes side effects in a particular individual, it is something underwriters will consider.

    Scott Hodgson

    Scott Hodgson

    Chief Underwriter

    Product enhancements to provide even more value for clients.

    Product enhancements to provide even more value for clients.

    Since we launched our Integrity’s ‘Here for You’ retail product, we’ve had some incredibly useful feedback from you – our Advisers. Now, we’re pleased to announce some improvements we’re making in response to what you’ve been telling us.

    With these changes, you can expect cover that is more flexible and easier to compare. And most importantly, cover that is designed for the real world, and suitable for more clients.

    Care Support Package. 

    Will now be included with lump sum Covers (Life, Critical Illness or TPD). A premium will be payable when only Income Insurance is held. It now also includes: an Occupationally Acquired Needlestick Benefit ($500k lump sum for those working in their usual occupation which is health or medical related), and A Child Support Benefit ($10k lump sum payment if a child, aged between 2-19 years, suffers one of the 42 medical conditions under our Critical Illness cover, is diagnosed with a Terminal Illness, or dies). 


    We’ve broadened the eligibility to provide a discount to more of your clients with a BMI between 18.5-27. For clients with no loadings or exclusions, that are lifelong non-smokers (less than 100 cigarettes in their life). Under Life+, your clients will now have the following discounts: 10.5% off Life Cover and 5% off Critical Illness Cover and 5% off TPD Cover. 

    Shared Product Features. 

    Now includes a Professional Services benefit (up to $3K lump sum reimbursement) for an Adviser, Accountant or Lawyer to prepare a financial plan or other documentation. Plus, where the Policy has been underwritten for a business purpose, the client has the ability to increase cover for Business Events (the lesser of 30% of the initial cover amount or $500k per increase, up to $3m over the life of the policy). Available where the client is the key person in their business (such as an owner, partner or shareholder).

    NEW Multi-Cover Discount.

    A 7.5% discount off the total policy premium when your client combines and maintains Income Insurance with at least one lump sum cover (Life, Critical Illness or TPD). Valid for quotes started from 1 February 2021, where your client is aged 50 years and under, and has a stepped premium. 


    For more information on any of these changes please speak to your BDM or our Care team. Or click here to see how Integrity is your partner for life.


    William Rogers

    William Rogers

    Head of Retail Product