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Insurers turn to ‘virtual medical screening’ for life insurance applications

Insurers turn to ‘virtual medical screening’ for life insurance applications

Apr 17, 2020

Are you looking to compare life insurance quotes and make an application for life insurance? If so, providers are keen to stress that they are ‘open for business’ as usual during this period of lockdown.

However, if an insurer needs to carry out a physical medical examination as part of the underwriting process, this is not currently possible due to ‘social distancing’.

To ensure customers can continue to get the cover they need, leading insurers including AIG Life and LV= have introduced ‘virtual medical screening’. So, what is this and how does it affect you?


What is a virtual medical screening?

Since the national lockdown was introduced, physical medical examinations as requested by life insurance underwriters haven’t been possible. Instead, leading insurers have introduced ‘virtual medical screening’.

A virtual medical examination will involve an online meeting with a nurse through Skype or a similar video conferencing system. You are likely to have to:

  • Answer medical questions
  • Provide your height and weight
  • Provide a blood pressure reading (if you have a blood pressure monitor at home)

You may also be sent a self-test kit which involves taking a blood sample using a finger-prick device. This kit will come with full instructions and details of how your sample can be despatched to a lab.

Justin Harper, head of protection marketing and external affairs at insurer LV= says: “We recognise the demands on GPs and other medical professionals, and support their efforts, particularly as many are increasingly being prioritised towards supporting the front line and at risk themselves.

“We’re building on and extending our current practices to get customers covered without delay and help reduce the burden on the NHS, through avoiding and reducing requests for additional medical evidence and reports.”


When will a virtual medical screening be used?

Virtual examinations will mostly be used for life insurance customers aged under 50 with no cardiovascular risk factors such as raised cholesterol or high blood pressure.

While insurers will try and use this approach for most life insurance applications, there will be cases where it is not possible to use a virtual screening. Examples are:

  • If a blood pressure check was needed and you did not have a monitor at home
  • Where the insurer needs a urine test.

Additionally, a virtual screening may not be suitable if you’re looking for a significant sum assured.


Do I have to undergo a virtual medical examination?

Depending on your age, health and the amount of cover you need, there are occasions where no examination will be required. In this case, you would not have to undergo an examination.

If you are asked to attend a virtual screening and you do not wish to, the insurer may:

  • Postpone your cover until a time when full medical evidence can be obtained
  • Offer a lower amount of cover which you could increase at a later date when full underwriting can be concluded.

Want to find out how much your life insurance will cost? Compare life insurance quotes today .


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