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From business prevention to business development

Insurance company Fidelity says that it is in the process of turning its underwriting division from a business prevention department to a business development one.

Wednesday, June 18th 2003, 11:08PM

“How can we put this business on the books,” is now the catch-cry of the company underwriter Neil Prestwood says.

While the company is keen to write policies “it doesn’t mean we are irresponsible underwriters,” he says.

The company, a relatively small, New Zealand owned life company, now has seven people in its underwriting division and between them they have worked for 10 different life companies. Prestwood says this experience is highly valuable.

To improve turnaround the company has enhanced its website for advisers and introduced new initiatives to help speed up the process. These include faster turnaround times (48 hours), telephone underwriting and incentives to doctors who provide medical reports quickly.

Besides improving its underwriting process, Fidelity chief executive Milton Jennings told the recent Society of Independent Financial Advisers conference that the company was planning to increase commissions to advisers.

Prestwood says the company is also encouraging advisers to pay more attention to filling out forms correctly.

He says if there is insufficient information on a proposal form underwriting can be held up by more than two and a half weeks.

Fidelity is also offering advisers a “pre-underwriting service” to speed up the process.

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