MorganAsh adds triage service for annuities to MARS vulnerability tool

MorganAsh has added a new triage service to its MARS vulnerability software, to help financial advisers identify when to obtain an annuity quotation for a client.

Using health data already collected for the vulnerability assessment, the MorganAsh Resilience System, MARS, makes a recommendation on the likelihood of an enhancement – and if this will be marginal or significant. Advisers can then choose how they wish to progress, with MARS itself providing guidance. MARS will identify if an online health assessment should be sufficient, or if a more in-depth medical assessment by a MorganAsh nurse is likely to give the consumer a better rate.

MorganAsh has undertaken medical assessments by nurse tele-interviews for 13 years. A recent study confirmed previous research that for those retirees with significant health issues, a nurse-led medical assessment results in better annuity rates for a consumer, compared to completing an online form.

With rising interest rates presenting greater returns, pension annuities have risen in popularity in recent months. In fact, research by ABI (Association of British Insurers) found that sales were up 22 percent in the first three months of 2023 – to the highest level in almost five years. But with Consumer Duty requiring advisers to evidence that they have considered all options, MorganAsh argues that not considering an enhanced annuity at annual review, or assessing the client’s health, is likely not to meet Consumer Duty.

The practical challenge is when a consumer’s health is going to significantly impact the annuity rate.  All annuities are effectively underwritten, meaning that an annuity quotation should be obtained for every retiree every year. However, with annuity quotes taking weeks to be returned, and a detailed health assessment a requirement, many advisers are looking for a more practical way to triage when to obtain quotations and when not.

Andrew Gething managing director of MorganAsh, comments: “The challenge for advisers is when to obtain an annuity quotation – and whether to do this online or have a nurse conduct a far more thorough medical assessment. By incorporating this triage directly within MARS, we have removed this risk for the adviser. This should ensure that all retirees are presented with a reflective and accurate annuity quotation which they can compare against the drawdown option.

“All advisers need to undertake a vulnerability assessment of their customers – and most are opting to review this annually, just like the attitude to risk. It is highly efficient to use this health information to triage for any other products with a health or longevity component. We see this as a real opportunity to reach out to areas previously underserved.”

The annuity triage is just one of multiple next steps – called treatments – suggested to users in response from the vulnerability assessment data. It is part of a full suite of treatments provided within MARS, which users can select in line with their vulnerability strategy and risk appetite.

MorganAsh has also added a new triage service to help mortgage advisers to identify and assess the protection needs of their clients.

The MorganAsh Resilience System, MARS, utilises health information collected as part of the vulnerability assessment to triage the likely prospects of life, critical illness and income protection. MARS will assess suitability, provide a rating and suggest the best way to proceed – whether it’s online or to pass to a nominated protection specialist.