Transforming the process for GP medical reports

Kate Connor
Kate Connor, Protection Development Manager
Thursday, 20th June 2024

Michael Shelley, Chief Underwriter, talks about how Irish Life is working to transform the delivery of medical reports.

This article originally appeared in the June 2024 issue of the Irish Broker magazine.

I have worked in Irish Life and Underwriting for over 30 years and the process for getting medical reports from GPs has altered little in that time, but it feels increasingly difficult of late to get completed reports in a timely fashion.

However, I am delighted to say that things are changing for the better. We in Irish Life have been working exclusively with Clanwilliam to bring an electronic solution to requesting and receiving medical reports from GPs. This is another example of Irish Life making it easier for brokers and customers to get the protection cover they need in place.

SureMed is the new transfer tool that Clanwilliam has deployed in Ireland to allow for the secure and fast transfer of medical reports between the life insurance company and the GP surgery.The SureMed technology has been in operation very effectively for a number of years in New Zealand and recently launched in Australia too.The new SureMed technology has now been integrated with all three main practice management systems (PMS) by Clanwilliam. All GPs now have the option to receive reports electronically straight into their PMS.

Irish Life has taken the lead in Ireland on collaborating with Clanwilliam to design the new electronic reports that can be requested through SureMed and to be the first life assurance company to use this new technology.

Who hasn’t had issues with getting a GP to complete a paper Private Medical Attendants (PMA) report? Perhaps you or your customer had to contact the surgery to be told that they never received the paper report or that the GP is away and will have to wait until the doctor returns. Requesting a PMA report or a questionnaire is one of the few remaining paper processes we have within life insurance. Some medical conditions will always require a GP report in order to underwrite the risk e.g. heart conditions, cancers etc.

The new electronic forms along with SureMed, the secure transfer tool transforms how the existing slow paper process works. Underwriters can now request e-PMAs and e-questionnaires via the new SureMed system.

Benefits of SureMed and new electronic medical forms:

  1. Immediate transfer of the medical report to the GP’s practice management system (PMS)
  2. Electronic forms are integrated with PMS to allow for pre-population of report for the GP making it much quicker to complete.
  3. GP has full control to amend and update report content.
  4. Electronic reports can be assigned to available GP within practice management system
  5. Report returned to Irish Life via SureMed, so data more secure than paper
  6. Faster time to underwriting decision for broker and customer
  7. Faster speed of payment to GP practices for completed electronic reports, to encourage use of the system.

Irish Life's experience so far

Since January we have issued over 250 electronic PMA reports and questionnaires through SureMed and the results to date have been extremely positive. GPs and practice managers using the process for the first time have seen the benefits of time saving, enhanced data security and speed of payment.

Once the GP practice has trialled SureMed they do not wish to return to the old paper process.

GP feedback

"SureMed has been a game changer! It’s made our PMA requests effortless, reduced time spent on chart searches, and impressively fast with PMAR handling."
Boyne Medical Centre

Source Irish Life 2024

The average turnaround times have been less than two weeks with scope to improve further, as GPs get used to the new system. This is so much better than paper reports, where it can take on average up to four weeks plus to have reports completed.

Case study

Life Mortgage Cover - €490,000

  • 17th April: application form submitted
  • 17th April: request for medical questionnaire through SureMed
  • 18th April: questionnaire completed and returned by GP through SureMed
  • 19th April: cover underwritten and acceptance terms issued

It would not be possible to achieve this level of service using the existing paper and post process.
Source Irish Life 2024

Irish Life is leading the way in making improvements to the underwriting and protection process, making it easier for you to write business and to get your customers covered.

I would encourage everyone the next time you are with your GP or talking to a customer who is a GP, or contacting the GP surgery, to ask them are they using SureMed for completing their insurance reports.

Removing paper and providing an easier to use and more secure platform is the way to go and will also help your customers to be better protected by Irish Life.

For more information about our protection solutions please contact your Irish Life account manager.

More protection innovation from Irish Life – Underwriting Submission Platform (USP)

Have you availed of the benefits of USP underwriting? We are seeing 

  • up to 75% of Life Mortgage customers getting immediate acceptance using USP
  • faster customer decisions and freeing up valuable time for you.