A deal between John Hancock and Human API will allow life insurance customers to share their health record data in seconds, expediting the buying process

The data-sharing capability will speed up the process of buying life cover, according to John Hancock (Credit: PixaBay)

American insurer John Hancock has formed a “strategic collaboration” with technology provider Human API to allow its life insurance customers to share health records in a matter of seconds.

The tie-up is designed to speed up the purchase process for life coverage, which previously required health records to be requested from the applicant’s GP – with this taking up to 30 days.

Now, with an Application Programming Interface (API) plugged into its technology, John Hancock will be able to access customer data — if they agree to share it — in real time via Human API’s mass of health record data.

John Hancock chief underwriter Susan Ghalili said: “By joining forces with Human API, we can embed a simple digital authorisation into our new, electronic application process, enabling customers to share their medical information instantly.

“This is the level of service today’s consumers demand and we are excited to provide it, improving the overall experience for consumers, distributors and producers.”

Innovation has been taking place across the insurance industry to meet a growing demand to have products delivered quickly and accurately — but life coverage hasn’t been dramatically transformed in recent years.

John Hancock made a bold step in late 2018 to stop selling traditional life cover and only offer interactive policies that track fitness and health data through wearable devices and smartphones.

Human API CEO Andrei Pop said: “Consumers today have higher expectations for how they purchase goods and services.

john hancock life insurance
Human API CEO Andrei Pop believes his company’s health record data has the power to transform the industry (Credit: Youtube/Udacity)

“Human API data allows insurers to re-imagine the customer experience and holds the potential to transform the industry.

“We’re thrilled to be working with a bold carrier like John Hancock that is pushing innovation ahead in an industry that has not been keeping up with consumers’ expectations.”


How is the data collected, normalised and used by John Hancock when issuing life insurance?

The US healthcare marketplace is a large and sprawling landscape of competing provider networks, including giants such as McKesson, UnitedHealthcare Group and CVS Health.

The scale of the industry presents a problem to life insurance companies like John Hancock, because the incoming data may be presented differently, with significant variation in terminology and structure found in the market.

According to Human API, its role is to take in all of this data and structure it in a way that makes sense to life insurers — a process known as normalising.

Through a previous partnership with analytics firm LexisNexis Risk Solutions, the tech provider is able to assign a risk score based on the partner’s own health risk assessment algorithms.

The process is automated using machine learning technology and all of the information is sent to an insurer in real time on a secure network the two partners claimed is compliant with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) — the regulatory standard for patient data-sharing practices.

For John Hancock, this means that health record data will arrive in seconds, in a digestible format and with an attached understanding of the mortality risk a customer faces, saving the insurer time it would have spent assessing it.