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RiskApps 2016 end-of-year report

2016 was an interesting year in a number of ways, not least for the Trump and Brexit votes, and the passing of so many famous people – Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Fidel Castro, Dario Fo, Harper Lee, Arnold Palmer and Prince and so many others.

But on a more mundane level, during 2016 our RiskApps underwriting manual service* has continued to evolve and has been strengthened in a number of key areas. The start of the year saw a complete revamp of the travel section, improvements in the search terms for some topics and improved rating guidance for others.

The close of the year saw a significant technological upgrade that delivered more robust underlying code with improved performance and functionality enabling all users to submit feedback – on both content and functionality – that will guide our programme of continuous improvement and development.

Also, we have completely revised the applicant and physician questionnaires that are attached to key topics. These are now more focused in the information they seek to obtain and those aimed at applicants are worded in simple, easy-to-understand language.

Arguably the biggest enhancement has been a revision to the cardiovascular risk calculator which, experience shows, is one of the most visited features in any underwriting manual. This year’s upgrade was underpinned by extensive research into the various cardiovascular risk factors resulting in an updated calculator that now includes:

  • Tobacco use
  • Waist-hip ratio/waist circumference
  • Improved handling of impaired glucose metabolism
  • Revised ratings for BMI, hypertension and lipids, all based on new evidence-based research
  • Changes to the algorithm that underpins the handling of interdependent risk factors.

The use of calculators within an underwriting manual remains controversial (see our more specific musings on this subject) but we remain convinced that calculators are here to stay, delivering consistent decision making capabilities together with ease of use.

We are already working on the first batch of 2017 content updates and expect these to be released during the first quarter.

In the last few weeks, we have started our thinking about how the underwriting manual as a concept – and RiskApps as a product – will evolve over the next three to five years. Expect a significantly upgraded product in late 2017/early 2018. But in the shorter term we expect to deliver further innovations and updates during 2017. Watch this space.

*RiskApps is SelectX’s independent underwriting manual service for life and disability underwriters. The manual is available on a SaaS basis which eliminates budgetary strains and means quick, straightforward implementation. The fees include regular updates enabling users easily to adapt to changes in the world of risk. RiskApps can easily be used ‘straight out of the box’ or can be customised in line with your own underwriting philosophy as well as your corporate image. See or contact us for more information.