BUPA Group Risk has introduced a new approach to forward underwriting to make it easier for clients and intermediaries to switch business to BUPA. BUPA said that the approach will dramatically reduce the number of cases where underwriting is required.

Lee Lovett, head of sales at BUPA Group Risk, said: Although it is pretty much standard practice for insurers who have won schemes to accept previous underwriting decisions up to the existing sum assured, anyone to whom a forward underwrite agreement had previously applied would effectively lose this entitlement.

Having to be medically underwritten again when their benefit increases could lead in the short-term to worse terms being applied than would have been in operation under their old insurer, Mr Lovett continued. Even if the members are accepted at normal rates by the new insurer, they often still face the hassle of attending medicals, and perhaps other tests as well, sooner than they would have needed to if the scheme hadn’t been switched.

BUPA will now take on anyone who was accepted at normal terms by their previous insurer and offer the same forward underwriting entitlement as would have applied had BUPA done the underwriting in the first place. This is based on the last sum assured underwritten by the previous insurer.

For example, under its group income protection policy, BUPA will normally allow future increases without underwriting of up to GBP20,000 over a five-year period. If a scheme member with a benefit of GBP70,000 has been accepted at normal terms by a previous insurer and the scheme then switches to BUPA, no underwriting will be required in the five years following the switch, unless the member’s benefit exceeds GBP90,000 per annum.