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Get to Know the 'Uninsurables': Idea File

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Life insurers are hungry for prospects.

Obesity and related health problems are knocking many people out of the easily insured population.

(Related: High Blood Pressure Is Death’s New Best Friend)

Program designers at Swiss Re think those conflicting trends could create an opportunity.

“We’re trying to open up the risk pools to people with mild chronic conditions,” JJ Carroll, head of Swiss Re’s new solutions group strategy development and research, said in a recent interview. “We’re hoping to start small.”

Swiss Re hopes to create programs aimed at people with relatively mild forms of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, and at people who have taken effective steps to manage their conditions and reduce their risk of developing serious complications.

Swiss Re is working to test that idea by setting up pilot programs with life insurance company partners. The programs would be aimed at people with Type 2 diabetes who now fall a little outside the group of people who normally could qualify for ordinary life insurance coverage at good rates.

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Unsuccessful applicants for life insurance should make ideal prospects, Carroll said.

“They’ve already gone through underwriting,” she said.

Carroll said one key to making the new programs will work may be persuading consumers to provide extra health data, from sources such as prescription data.

“What we don’t know is the reaction of the of the customer,” Carroll said.

To persuade consumers to provide more information, insurers may have to provide new services of interest to the consumers, such as new tools for tracking and managing their conditions, Carroll said.

— Read Swiss Re to Use MassMutual Risk Scoring Toolon ThinkAdvisor.

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