Absa Life, the largest credit life provider in Africa, has pioneered big data technology to develop the first African predictive underwriting solution, and one of the first globally, which will increase customer convenience significantly. One of the major obstacles in getting life insurance is medical underwriting, which requires clients to undergo medical tests before they can be offered insurance products. This causes a significant inconvenience to clients, who often have to set aside time to go through the medical underwriting process.

Jannie Venter, Managing Executive at Absa Life, says: "We have created a way to use customer-level data to predict what the outcome for medical underwriting would be without actually asking the clients to go for medical tests. We have termed this breakthrough "Affinity". This further unlocks the value of our bancassurance model and demonstrates the benefit of belonging to the Barclays Africa Group."

"Our clients transact with us often enough through many platforms and this provides us with a view of what convenient solutions we can provide. Instead of doing life insurance the same old way where you pose a lot of medical underwriting questions to the customer, we can offer life insurance to a select number of clients - for up to as much as R5 million - with just three questions and there is no need to go for any form of medical test," he says.

Venter says the model has been successfully tested and is highly accurate in its predictive underwriting. This ensures that the company makes the right long-term decisions that do not prejudice other policyholders.

"It is important to stress that while we have client consent to use the data, we always use client data for the benefit of the clients as part of the Treating Customers Fairly dispensation. While the offer of Affinity will not be available to all Absa customers, a large proportion of our clients will benefit from this new innovation. We believe this new tool will revolutionise the life insurance industry and we are proud to be at the cutting edge of finding innovative solutions for our customers, who are increasingly embracing technological solutions," he adds.

The pilot test is complete and the financial planners and advisers at Absa branches in the major central business districts are already offering clients the convenience of this life insurance solution. "This is an extremely exciting industry-first initiative and this firmly positions us as an innovative life insurance provider for our Pan African Barclays Group clients," concludes Venter.