The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has published a set of high level principles on the use of e-Signatures.
Insurers increasingly use e-Signatures to request individuals’ medical information for life and health insurance products. They allow a customer’s consent to be sent instantly to the insurer.

The ABI said insurers following these principles will give confidence to GPs and consumers that using e-Signatures to gain customer consent is not only as safe and secure as the current paper-based system, but speeds up insurers providing valuable life insurance cover and annuities for customers.

The ABI has worked together with the Joint General Practitioner Information Technology Committee of the British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), with approval from the General Medical Council (GMC), in developing these principles.

It said they set an industry standard which is intended to allow new providers and users of e-Signatures to innovate, while maintaining safeguards for patients and GPs.

Charlie Campbell, policy adviser for protection and health at the ABI, said: "These principles set an industry standard, giving doctors and customers confidence that using e-Signatures is safe and secure, and will speed up the underwriting process for the benefit of customers."

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Responding to The ABI’s announcement, Guy Williams, director at protection insurance software company, Liss Systems, described it as a key milestone.

Williams said the announcement removes any uncertainty, from the ABI, the BMA and the EU Directive about the adoption of a paper free AMRA (access to medical records authority) process.

"We believe the use of e-signatures with the 20 – 30% of people whose medical records need to be accessed means the underwriting journey for protection products will be reduced by around two weeks, and will minimise drop outs. The adoption of automated e-signatures by insurers could also see immediate and meaningful cost reductions," said Williams.

He added: "Over the last 12 months we have been working closely with industry bodies, insurers and our global e-signature partner DocuSign to bring this technology to the UK protection market, through Liss AMRAdigital."
Williams explained that AMRAdigital is a standalone module designed specifically to work with existing processes and legacy systems, to make the adoption of e-signatures simple, quick and cost-effective, with minimal internal IT resource requirements.