In a bid to accelerate the underwriting process, UK general insurer Norwich Union has introduced a telephone service staffed by nurses to assist in the gathering of relevant information on certain protection product applications.

The service was launched at the beginning of 2007 and has so far carried out over 1,400 telephone interviews.

Telephone nurse interviews are used when policy applications require further information, due to certain responses that have triggered further questions or as a result of ambiguous answers. They have also been used in applications that use general practitioners’ reports (GPR).

The nurses can help to streamline the process dramatically as a typical GPR can take around 20 days to process, while the majority of telephone nurse interviews can be completed within two days.

Tony Jupp, chief underwriter at Norwich Union, said: We have targeted nurse calls where they will add most value. They are invaluable in providing insight where a client has made a vague or incomplete instatement in answer to a question. By using their medical knowledge they are ideally suited to question and understand the importance of the information a client was trying to give us.

Prior to the launch in January 2007, the general insurer had piloted the service in September 2006.