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The HitSquad

4 Nov 2021

It started organically. Off their own backs, ‘Searchers were gathering evidence to convince insurers to look again at certain cases and decisions.

They were chasing down doctors’ notes and asking clients for info, context and backstory on major life events. Why? Fairer outcomes. If a customer’s premiums seemed too high, or a decision didn’t feel right, ‘Searchers built the case for another look.

A ground-up initiative getting results, it was made official in 2017. It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue, we just gave it a name.

That name?

There’s a legend and there’s the truth. The legend says Hit Squad was chosen by a sensei atop a mountain in Milton Keynes for its symbiosis with heroes, ninja warriors and elite fighters. The alluring image of a team of forensic sharp-shooters going behind enemy lines on behalf of the little customer to take on the Big Nasty Insurer. It’s provocative, romantic, Marvel-lous …

And inaccurate.

Truth is that an item called ‘Hit Squad’ already existed on our system, only no-one knew why or what it was there for. Essentially, ‘Hit Squad’ was an admin error. Attaching this name to the new team was a no-brainer as it saved us integration time and development budget.

Bubble burst?

Hit Squad. On one hand it was serendipity; like the universe wanted this team to be. On the other, Hit Squad has connotations that, while vivid and fun, skew the message.

Hit Squad suggests us and them; David and Goliath, when that’s just not the case. Insurers aren’t the enemy of the piece; they too want fair customer outcomes. But they need facts, proof and evidence.

Underwriters make decisions based on the information they have. They don’t have the complicated luxury of context or backstory. They don’t know what they don’t know. It’s not for them to rummage through the client’s messy drawer, or plough through pages and pages of old doctor notes.

Yet the kind of information that can turn a decision may be hiding in the cracks. And if that info’s to come to life and make a difference, someone needs to find it.

That someone is the Hit Squad

Our team members hunt down crucial information that, we think, will make the case for another look at a customer decision. We find it, fact-check it and present it.

Say a client’s premiums shot up due to a serious mental health episode in their past. If we evidence the context of that event and show, for example, it was a one-off breakdown immediately after a loved one’s death, then this ‘episode’ changes colour entirely.

Say an underwriter reads the words “heart attack” on a customer application. That’s an undeniable red flag. But if we can evidence that the client, in reality, suffered a freak heart attack as a result of blood-loss during an operation… it’s a different beast entirely to a heart-attack caused by lifestyle.

In both scenarios, decisions are made on the basis of fact, yet further evidence would reasonably force a rethink on the judgement of those facts.

So this isn’t about twisting the thumb screws and demanding insurers be soft or generous. No, it’s pursuing what’s fair. And all parties are invested in what’s fair.

If a piece of evidence will make the difference between an unfair £40 and a fair £30 per month, or a fair Accept over an unfair Decline, we’ll go out and find it as we continue to pursue the highest standards in customer outcomes.

It’s all part of the service

Today, 75 ‘Searchers work Hit Squad duties with 125 live cases at any one time. In every single one of them, we’re hunting, presenting and fact-checking the kind of information that’ll urge insurers to rethink.

From August 2020 to August 2021, the Hit Squad convinced insurers to correct 1,317 in 3,026 cases. That’s a 43% hit rate – and a best-year-yet.

For a movement that started organically and got its name via an admin error, today it’s a hugely valuable resource in helping and protecting families.

It’s another example where there’s more to LifeSearch than meets the eye.

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