What Is A Telemedical Examination for Term Insurance?
Underwriting in Insurance is an important step before policy issuance. Through underwriting, insurance companies assess the medical, financial and other risks of an individual and then issue the policy if the company can undertake to insure the risk1.
Underwriting takes two forms – medical underwriting and non-medical underwriting2. Non-medical underwriting is when the insurance policy is issued without medical check-ups2. This usually happens when you are young or when the sum assured is small. On the other hand, medical underwriting is when a medical check-up is required based on your family history, personal history and personal characteristics like build, weight, etc3.
If there’s a requirement for a pre-policy medical check-up, individuals are usually required to visit a clinic and get themselves examined as per the insurer’s requirements. However, this takes time. As such, a new concept of medical underwriting has been introduced by insurance companies called telemedical examination. Let’s understand.
The concept of Telemedical Examination in Term Insurance
A telemedical examination means medical examinations or assessments done over the telephone or video MER rather than a physical visit. Video MER is a medical examination through a video call. The doctor makes a video call to the proposer and does the medical checkup through the call. It is a type of medical underwriting wherein the doctor asks relevant medical questions to the insured to assess his health risk and current health condition.
Preparing for a Term Insurance Telemedical Interview
When buying a term insurance policy, some insurance companies might allow you the option of a telemedical interview to assess your health risk. In such cases, you might have to speak to a doctor over the phone and reveal your medical history and other details that the doctor might ask.
Here are some tips to prepare for the interview –
- Schedule the interview at a convenient time when you can talk to the doctor without prior commitments demanding your attention.
- Be in a place where the network connection is good so that you and the doctor can hear and understand each other clearly.
- In the case of any question that you do not understand, ask the doctor for clarification.
- Keep all your medical reports handy to specify any details the doctor might need. For instance, if you are a diabetic, keep your blood reports handy to specify your blood glucose levels when asked.
Do’s and don’ts for telemedical interviews:
Here are some things that you may keep in mind when appearing for a telemedical interview –
Why do Some Insurers Opt for Telemedical Interviews?
The concept of telemedical examination is relatively new in the insurance domain. However, it is slowly gaining traction among insurance companies. Here are some reasons why –
1. Overcomes pandemic-related barriers:
The COVID pandemic imposed lockdowns and made physical visits to the hospital challenging. As such, insurance companies resorted to the remote mode of medical underwriting through telemedical interviews4.
The telemedical mode of underwriting is convenient as insurance companies can complete their medical underwriting easily without waiting for physical medical reports.
3. Time and Cost-Effectiveness:
Telemedical interviews save time. The interview can be conducted in real time, and the report can be quickly sent to insurers. Moreover, it is also cost-effective as it might not include extensive medical tests and the reports are digitized7.
Things to Remember about Telemedical Examination
Though telemedical examinations have made the underwriting process easy, here are some things that you should keep in mind –
- The sum assured might be restricted under telemedical interviews since extensive medical check-ups cannot be done over the call5.
- The insurance company might require you to appear for a physical check-up if there’s any adverse medical condition that you have or if there’s a family history of illness and a high underwriting risk is estimated.
- If you lie or hide any important information, your policy might be considered null and void if the insurance company finds out about the same. This is because insurance policies are contracts of utmost good faith. The insurance company believes the information that you provide to be true and then underwrites the policy. If the information is later found to be false, the company has the right to reject the claim and consider the policy null and void6.
- 4. If a medical risk is ascertained upon examination, the insurance company might hike the premium payable for the policy.
Telemedical interviews have simplified the underwriting process for term insurance plans. You can talk to a doctor over the phone, answer some questions and get insured. However, check whether the insurance company allows telemedical examinations for the term plan that you are proposing to buy. If the facility is available, you can avail of it but keep the do’s and don’ts in mind. Answer the questions truthfully so that the coverage comes to your aid when you need it.
1. https://www.insuranceinstituteofindia.com/downloads/IC38/ALEnglish.pdf (page 272)
2. https://www.insuranceinstituteofindia.com/downloads/IC38/ALEnglish.pdf (page 278 and 285)
3. https://www.insuranceinstituteofindia.com/downloads/IC38/ALEnglish.pdf (page 285)
6. https://www.insuranceinstituteofindia.com/downloads/IC38/ALEnglish.pdf (page 87)
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