Life Insurers are Rewriting the Underwriting Rules

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21 March 2023

The Expanding Use of Underwriting Data, Tools, and Technology


Celent recently published a review of the underwriting systems marketed and sold to North American life insurers: New Business and Underwriting Systems: North America Life Insurance Edition. In it, we reviewed some of the underwriting changes insurers, vendors, and reinsurers made over the last two years as a result of COVID and digitalization. This included the use of alternative data sources and an uptick in the use of automated underwriting solutions. To learn more about these changes from the insurers’ point of view, we conducted a survey of underwriting departments in the United States. The survey asked about the insurers’ use or plans to use new tools and technologies in their underwriting processes. This report summarizes the survey findings.

We looked into how underwriting departments use or are planning to use tools and technologies across four categories:

  • Medical: Medical Information Bureau (MIB), pharmaceuticals (Rx), electronic health records, medical claims, lab records, digital biomarkers, etc.
  • Behavioral: Motor Vehicle Records (MVR), credit data, social media data, consumer behavior tracking, application completion analysis, etc.
  • Technologies: underwriting dashboards, underwriting rules engines, computer vision, optical character recognition, etc.
  • Advanced data tools: multivariate mortality models and predictive models