Healix Risk Rating
HRR created an innovative and automated medical underwriting tool, the Travel Black Box, which allowed insurers to quickly and accurately assess the risk of their consumer’s pre-existing medical conditions at point of sale. This was achieved by seamlessly integrating our technology and its embedded algorithms into their existing sales journey.
Contact person: Lara Suttie
Email address: Lara.Suttie@verisk.com
Contact number: 00 44 7966 480 477
The Digital Insurer European Insurance Innovation Award
The Healix Group of Companies was formed in 1992 as a supplier of specialist medical services to the travel insurance industry with a particular focus on medical assistance and repatriation services. Healix Risk Rating (HRR), now a Verisk Analytics Business, was founded in 1999 after it became clear that the travel insurance market needed medical risk analysis tools at point of sale.
Until that time in the UK, and to this day in most of the world, the standard travel insurance product excludes cover for any pre-existing medical conditions. Inevitably, therefore, consumers were travelling overseas with less-than-adequate cover and certainly often with no cover for their most significant risk - the cost of overseas healthcare and repatriation in relation to pre-existing conditions. In the event of a medical complication arising, any underwriting would occur at point of claim which naturally results in a complicated, confrontational, costly and drawn-out decision making process, with neither the insurer nor consumer necessarily happy with the outcome.
Travel insurance is a high volume, low cost product and therefore does not lend itself to a traditional manual underwriting model, involving a medical professional review of a paper-based declaration, often completed by a GP at a cost to the consumer, leading to a time-consuming and expensive application process for both the insurer and the consumer.
HRR resolved this underwriting challenge by creating an innovative and automated medical underwriting tool, the Travel Black Box, which allowed insurers to quickly and accurately assess the risk of their consumer’s pre-existing medical conditions at point of sale. This was achieved by seamlessly integrating our technology and its embedded algorithms into their existing sales journey.
The Black Box consists of approximately 3,500 searchable medical terms (this comprises official medical condition names, common lay expressions and common misspellings) and upon customer selection of a pre-existing condition from the search results, a dynamically-built question set is presented to the user. Responses to questions are scored, and it is this that allows stratification of risk presented by each individual. For the first time, consumers had the opportunity to acquire cover for their pre-existing medical conditions and travel overseas with comprehensive cover and peace of mind. By the same token, insurers were able to cover many more people comprehensively and to price their products according to underwriting risk.
Initially within the UK, HRR's cutting-edge expert tool was embedded into offline environments; this was reflective of the distribution of sales which was largely via travel agents, contact centres and high-street brokers.
Today’s landscape looks rather different. The last 10 years have seen phenomenal advancements in the digital sphere and travel insurance is no exception to this with a significant proportion of sales now occurring online. HRR had predicted that this shift in distribution would occur and had evolved the Black Box to ensure that it was entirely digitally-optimised in advance of the revolution. At the same time, HRR was embedding its technology into insurer systems servicing markets overseas.
In 2016, HRR processed in excess of 17 million automated medical risk assessments via the servicing of the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Spanish markets. In addition, Italy and the APAC region are in the pipeline for 2017, and today the Black Box is translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Japanese and Bahasa (Indonesian) to fulfil the needs of our global clients.
The advent of the Price Comparison Websites has contributed greatly to our market-leading position. Each of the big 4 aggregators in the UK (Money Supermarket, Go Compare, Confused and Compare the Market) have selected HRR as their risk assessment provider of choice, solely responsible for all declarations which occur in any one of these sites. Thanks to the ease of the Black Box integration; consumers can now engage via whichever means they prefer; their PC, their laptop, their tablet or their smartphone and upon the submission of a single medical declaration, they will receive an array of results which represent the wide market offerings; sorted in price ascending order, ready for them to take their pick.
Looking across the globe, HRR works with a number of international insurers; the risk assessment tool is adapted for specific market needs whilst aligned product algorithms promote a consistent view and interpretation of risk, not to mention the comparable data and experience that can be shared across multiple locations.
Zurich Insurance Group is a comparatively recent client acquisition and this newly formed partnership is an example of how our digitally-innovative medical underwriting tool is being utilised to enhance and evolve the international travel insurance market.
Zurich identified the Black Box as their risk assessment tool of choice in 2016; their market research identified HRR as the gold standard within the industry and with over 1.4 million medical risk assessments transacted through the Black Box each and every month, there is no other engine which can quite compare. The dataset and algorithms are updated every quarter, with in excess of 70 updates being completed over the past 17 years. This allows the product to be responsive to shifts in both the medical and travel insurance markets, and to ensure that outputs fully reflect the insurer’s claim experiences. Our commitment to product development has run in parallel to this with our ever-evolving version releases.
Zurich have integrated the latest version of our Travel Black Box into their sales platform; Nordic Insurance Software and their initial deployment will be going live in the UK during Q2 2017. Their implementation will allow them to trade on the price comparison websites but, at all times, retain total control over their risk appetite and exposure.
The Black Box has an array of features which are available to our clients; by way of an example, Zurich have taken advantage of our hosted-API integration option which allows them to design the UI in its entirety.
In addition to the UK, Zurich utilise the Travel Black Box in Australia and New Zealand through their Cover More business, and are currently exploring the next implementation for Indonesia.