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Five Reasons Why EHRs Are More Than Just a Digital APS

Five Reasons Why EHRs Are More Than Just a Digital APS

For decades, when it came to the purchase of life insurance, little changed. It was a paper-intensive, time-consuming process that took weeks, if not months, to complete. Although the industry has recently moved toward more automation by leveraging data sets and advanced analytics, there is still an opportunity to further streamline and accelerate the application process to meet the expectations of today’s consumers, who are looking for a faster life insurance buying experience, with the best pricing. With the 2023 Insurance Barometer Study from LIMRA and Life Happens revealing that the generations that have the biggest gap when it comes to life insurance coverage are Millennials and Gen Z *, it’s paramount that insurers provide a faster, more seamless buying experience than ever before. These consumers are used to having their finances at their fingertips, and they are accustomed to convenience and speed in their financial transactions. To engage these younger demographics, today’s life insurers are beginning to recognize the need to provide faster underwriting, although they need solutions that will not cause mortality slippage.

Electronic Health Records: Satisfying the needs of insurers and consumers alike

Insurers can leverage Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to help achieve these goals. LexisNexis® Risk Solutions notes that it's projected that the EHR will become an essential data source for life insurance underwriting over the next five years and EHRs have the potential to enable carriers needing to “cut through the noise” to quickly reach — and satisfy — those consumers they want on their books.

 Many carriers are using EHRs to avoid traditional Attending Physician Statements (APSs), but in order to fully unlock the potential of digital health data, we must recognize that its potential value  is much broader than that: EHRs provide digital data points that can be consumed in an automated fashion more easily than an APS and they contain more data types (diagnosis, procedures, labs, prescriptions, doctor notes, and more) than any other single digital source available.  Logically, it follows that as coverage expands, there is no other source with the potential to tell a more complete story of the risk.

Five reasons to use EHRs in life underwriting

Following are five key reasons why life insurers should leverage EHRs in their underwriting process.

Reason #1: EHRs give a much wider ‘lens’ into the proposed insured’s risk

As noted earlier, EHRs provide solid data points. Each one represents a single component of an individual’s health journey and EHRs can also give a broader view of the proposed insured than other digital sources of data. When viewed in the aggregate, specific pieces of data can actually show the progression from lab result to diagnosis to procedure. Carriers have historically relied on disparate data sources and manual assembly to pull together this picture, risking gaps in information and inconsistent linking of insight across sources. Incorporating automated review of the data within EHRs in the underwriting process can also help to reduce the potential to miss an important piece of information in a manual review.

Reason #2: ‘No data is an island’

As just discussed, the EHR enables us to identify interactions between pieces of data which can help underwriters tie valuable information together through the coordination of International Classification of Diseases (ICDs) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes, for example. However, the potential for broader insight is not limited to linking within medical data:  EHRs serve as the foundation to enable the underwriter a more holistic view of the proposed insured. For example, their use can enable underwriters to correlate digital medical data to other types of digital data, such as when motor vehicle records (MVRs) are used to obtain an individual’s driving history.

Reason #3: Time and cost savings

EHRs can help carriers save both time and money. As mentioned earlier, carriers are increasing utilization of EHRs to avoid a traditional APS, resulting in faster turn-around and more predictable cost. In addition, the data within the EHR can be identified and consumed in an automated fashion – within seconds rather than hours. This can save underwriters’ valuable time for more important tasks, such as the analysis of a complex case.

Reason #4: EHRs make mortality results measurable

 Life insurance underwriting is both a science and an artform. The wealth of data within EHRs can be studied against actual mortality results and enable a data-driven, analytical approach to risk assessment, coupled with strong underwriting expertise and judgment.

Reason #5: Enables ‘super-charging’ other tools carriers may already have in place

EHRs can help carriers better leverage other tools they may already have in place, such as LexisNexis® Risk Classifier,** an advanced risk assessment solution that gives underwriters a robust view of life insurance customers without invasive application requirements. It utilizes attributes from public records, driving history and credit, which are distilled into a numeric risk score, facilitating better-informed accelerated underwriting decisions.

Questions carriers may want to ask

Insurers that are considering incorporating EHRs in the underwriting process may want to ask specific questions as they consider how to leverage all the advantages that EHRs have to offer:

  • Where are we in our journey to move beyond manual records review?
  • How can we make EHRs a strategic data asset?
  • Once we have comprehensive EHRs in place, how can we leverage them in tandem with other data assets for a full picture of the risk we’re taking on?

The benefits are real

In addition to the advantages noted above, carriers evaluating the benefits of using EHRs in their life insurance underwriting workflows may wish to keep one important fact in mind: In the past, early adopters of innovations and those insurers who were at the forefront of leveraging certain market conditions have reaped outsized gains. This includes those carriers that were among the first to introduce prescription history into their underwriting process, those that were trailblazers in adopting accelerated underwriting, and those that quickly pivoted to leverage consumers’ heightened interest in purchasing life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As noted earlier, the use of EHRs can bring more “science” to the “art” of underwriting, because this data can help to make mortality results more measurable than ever before. Furthermore, this digital tool can enable underwriters to gather data much more quickly and efficiently, reserving more of their valuable time for more complex tasks that demand their full attention and expertise.

Finally, carriers willing to leverage EHRs in their underwriting process can offer a differentiated customer experience and achieve a distinct advantage in today’s competitive marketplace. Some of the top insurers in the industry have already begun making the most of the benefits of EHRs. Those that don’t risk being left behind.

* Source: Securing the Future: Life insurance Needs of Younger Adults, 2023 Insurance Barometer Study, LIMRA and Life Happens, accessed Feb. 19, 2024 https://info.limra.com/gen-zy-barometer

** LexisNexis® Risk Classifier is a consumer reporting agency product provided by LexisNexis Risk Solutions and may only be accessed in compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. 1681, et seq. LexID® is not provided by “consumer reporting agencies,” as that term is defined in the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681, et seq.) (“FCRA”) and do not constitute “consumer reports,” as that term is defined in the FCRA. LexisNexis, the Knowledge Burst logo, are registered trademarks of RELX Inc., used under license.

About LexisNexis Risk Solutions

At LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, we are passionate about using the power of data and advanced analytics to help life insurers make better, timelier decisions in a world of hidden risks and opportunities. This is why we make it our mission to provide essential insights to advance and protect people, industry and society. Our life insurance solutions can help reduce the time it takes to obtain critical information from days and weeks to seconds and hours. Gain valuable insight for knowing your prospects and customers through every step of the policy life cycle with unique data and advanced scoring analytics while upholding the highest standards of security and privacy.  https://risk.lexisnexis.com/insurance/life-insurance-solutions


Consumer-Mediated Consent

Life insurers that are using consumer-mediated networks to capture digital health data for medical underwriting are well-positioned for the evolving marketplace