UnderwriteMe Exec Discusses Streamlining Life Apps Underwriting


What do you want to know

  • UnderwriteMe systems help life insurers understand claimants.
  • Laker says technology can help insurers balance the need for speed with the need for careful risk assessment.

Brett Laker helps life insurers understand how dangerous their clients are.

Laker is the head of North America at UnderwriteMe, a life insurance underwriting technology company that is part of the reinsurance arm of Pacific Life.

Your clients may turn to life insurers to protect the financial well-being of their loved ones and to use life insurance and annuities as part of retirement income planning arrangements.

Life insurers use UnderwriteMe’s systems to predict whether applicants are more likely to die much sooner than expected or live longer than expected.

Laker has served in his current role since May 2021 and with Pacific Life since 2011. Prior to that, he worked in underwriting at Manulife Financial and Sun Life Financial. For most of that time, he handled business-owned life insurance and reinsurance applications.

A large part of the COLI was subscribed on the basis of a guaranteed issue or a simplified issue.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Guelph.

Laker answered questions via email about how he got into the world of life insurance underwriting technology, what underwriting systems have in common with amoebas, and the reality that a system subscription – like an amoeba – has to eliminate certain things.

The interview has been condensed and edited.

THINKADVISOR: What took the most time and energy last year, and what did you learn from it?

BRETT LAKER: We launched our official North American expansion in 2021 and recently completed our first customer implementation in the US, with one of the largest carriers in the market.

In addition to this goal, we spent a lot of time meeting with potential customers, third-party data providers, and even competitors to discuss and learn more about what people think are current and future subscription needs.

It was a year of education, understanding and, ultimately, revelation.

Through it all, I was reminded how supportive and collaborative our industry can be, as we help meet the needs of the life insurance ecosystem while providing protection to those in need.

What are you focusing on the most right now?

Underwriting has seen a renaissance over the past five to ten years, but COVID has really exposed the inefficiencies and gaps we still need to address to improve the consumer experience without sacrificing good risk assessment.

We are focused on improving the underwriting automation process to increase “straight through processing” or STP rates.

The challenge here is being able to accomplish this even when electronic health records or attending physician statements are required.

Using a combination of our underwriting engine and a medical records text mining tool, we want to facilitate the use of multiple sources of evidence to provide appropriate and targeted underwriting, whether via STP or providing better tools for underwriters.


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