Zurich has begun introducing e-signatures – thereby allowing customers to provide immediate consent for their GP to share their medical data with the insurer.

A successful pilot by Zurich showed that by using this technology the vast majority of customers returned their consent on the same day, unlike the traditional process which typically takes days to complete through the post.

Zurich will also soon be piloting a system to request and receive medical evidence electronically, reducing the amount of time it takes to provide customers with decisions on their policy applications and enabling them to secure cover more quickly.

The insurer said the new system will help GPs meet their obligations around data protection legislation by offering a simple reporting solution including a set of tools to automatically remove non-permitted and sensitive data.

Nicky Bray, chief underwriter for Zurich UK Life, said: "Developments like this will make an enormous difference to customers, advisers and GPs, making the whole process of applying for cover and collating medical evidence quicker and easier. 

“In the spirit of the ABI guidelines on the use of electronic signatures launched earlier this year, this new technology will also help to ensure that customer details are kept secure."