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Coronavirus: your individual protection questions answered

May 18, 2020, 09:22 AM
Clarification around our claims and underwriting position
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With the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19, more commonly known as Coronavirus, here you will find clarification around our service, claims and underwriting position. This page will be updated regularly with relevant changes and updates that may impact you and your customers.

Claims

What is your position on Life, Critical Illness and Income Protection policy claims in relation to COVID-19?

Death claims arising from the Coronavirus infection will be paid, subject to the usual policy terms and conditions.

Although the Coronavirus infection isn’t a covered condition on critical illness policies, if complications as a result of the virus lead to other criteria being met, (for example kidney failure, liver failure, heart failure or respiratory failure), the claim will be met subject to the terms and conditions of the specific policy.

Income Protection customers with the Coronavirus infection who are unable to work due to incapacity past the deferred period on their policy will be covered, subject to the terms and conditions of their policy.

In addition, we’ve made changes so your customer’s deferred period will start from the beginning of their 14 day self-isolation, should they be unable to work due to the symptoms of COVID-19. 

Your client’s income protection policy is designed to cover them in the event that their own ill health prevents them from working. Unfortunately, this doesn’t include any other reasons why they can’t carry out their occupation such as employer or government restrictions around self-isolating.

Throughout this period we’re committed to supporting our customers within the terms of their policy and will look at each case individually to determine the best outcome for their circumstances.

How will you assess Critical Illness claims if there is a delay in receiving medical reports?

We have put in place a process involving evidence supplied from your client, our clinical team and Cancer Nurse Specialists, where applicable, to help us make as many claim payments as we can before medical information is received from consultants.

Underwriting

What effect will the COVID-19 have on your underwriting policies?

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented levels of change across our society and we need to reflect the protection insurance challenges this has created.  We have therefore made some changes to our underwriting questions on applications for new customers.  We want to assure you that our claims philosophy is not changing, and we will continue to pay all valid claims. 

The following changes are effective from 20th March:

  1. We’ve added the following new question to our online application form.
    • Are you currently experiencing symptoms of a cough, a high temperature or fever, breathing difficulties or any other symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19); or
    • Have you tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19); or
    • Are you self-isolating due to symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19); or
    • Have you been advised to self-isolate for any other reason, or had direct contact with someone who’s been confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus?
  2. We’re reducing our non-medical limits for certain age groups
  3. We’ll be reducing the maximum online loading from our underwriting rules engine for customers with underlying medical conditions resulting in referral to our underwriting team. You may therefore experience a small reduction in our automation rates.

We continue to monitor the situation and if further changes are required these will be communicated in the normal way.

In addition, it’s important your clients answer application questions fully.

If your client has symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, or has had a positive test for COVID-19 an underwriting decision will be postponed until they have made a full recovery.

We are assessing existing applications in line with the advice recently published by the NHS. The advice has provided a list of medical conditions which put someone at higher risk should they also contract COVID-19. As a result, there will be a small number of instances where we would previously have offered terms for these conditions with a high extra premium where we will now be postponing a decision on these cases until the pandemic is over.

Have you added any exclusions to your policies?

At the moment we don’t have any exclusions for COVID-19 on any of our policies. We’ve introduced some new questions designed to help us provide access to insurance for customers but also take into account the risks the current situation brings. However, this is a changing situation that we’re closely monitoring so we may need to make changes for new clients in the future.

What if my customer needs a medical screening?

As a result of government measures, we are not currently able to undertake medical screenings. If your customer requires a medical screening you will be notified of this and our medical screenings provider will contact them to arrange an appointment as soon as they are able. We continue to monitor the situation and hope to be in a position to update further in June or when circumstances change.

Are you now requesting medical evidence?

From Monday the 27th April we have resumed requesting medical evidence for all applications in our pipeline, and also for all new applications.

We previously stopped these requests in order to reduce pressures on the NHS. Having monitored the situation closely, we’ve reviewed this decision and feel that we now have the required confidence to safely reinstate this process.

How does this work?

Any previously postponed applications remain live and will now be progressed. We’ll take care of this and there is no action required for you. If you have placed the business elsewhere in the intervening period or do not want us to progress a case, you can stop this by marking the case as NTU (Not Taken Up) within our online adviser platform.

You do not need to contact us in order to progress a previously postponed application – this will begin to happen automatically as of today.

For clarity, please see below the impact on applications in different stages of our pipeline:

  • New applications submitted from 27th April requiring medical evidence: For new applications the GPR will be issued following our standard process. Our business tracking service will confirm the decision to you in the normal way.
  • Existing postponed application with an AMRA received: A GPR will be issued to all cases not marked ‘NTU’ and you will be notified via an update from our business tracking service. This will be progressed automatically and therefore we will not contact you before doing this.
  • Existing postponed application with no AMRA received: The AMRA will now be issued for all applications not marked ‘NTU’, and an update provided to you via our business tracking service. This will be progressed automatically and therefore we will not contact you before doing this.

 

Can I still apply for IP or LCP if I’ve been furloughed by my employer or I am participating in any of the Government schemes linked to COVID-19?

There are a range of options – please speak to your Aviva contact to discuss individual circumstances.

New business

Can I still put new policies on risk?

Yes. We are continuing to transact business online through our ALPS platform. Straight through processing will take place as normal.

Are you still offering cover to health professionals?

We’re open for business for customers and we continue to offer cover to health professionals, prioritising applications from NHS workers.

How to contact us

What is the best way to get in touch?

We’ve invested in the technology to allow our people to work safely from home, ensuring we can continue to provide you and your clients with the high standards of service you’ve come to expect from us.

As part of our transition to remote working, we have previously focused our resources on customer lines to service key demands, whilst continuing to support our IFA’s via email. As of Monday 18th May, our telephone lines will be open including our support for IFAs, ensuring you have a range of ways in which to get in touch.

Given we expect phone lines to be in high demand, we would ask you wherever possible to use our ALPS tracking service first to obtain updates on cases. For other queries:

 

General

What services do you offer regards COVID-19?

We believe the best approach to the current situation is to have a strong, consistent and joined up approach nationally, which is the public health response. So we’d encourage all customers to follow government and NHS advice when it comes to Coronavirus. Our BUPA Nurse HealthlLine are also following the Public Health England, WHO and NICE guidelines in relation to Coronavirus, so can share the relevant details as needed based on your client’s symptoms.

What measures do you have in place to make sure you can continue to operate during this period of uncertainty.

You can read more about this in our article, The impact of Coronavirus – our business resilience .

This is a changing situation which we continue to monitor and respond to so that we can keep providing you and your clients with the best possible service.

Do you offer premium deferrals for individual protection policies?

It’s more important than ever for customers to have the right protection and to maintain their chosen amount of cover – so it’s there in full to support them and their loved ones when they need it most.

Individual protection customers, who are struggling financially due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), can now defer premiums for 3 months and spread them over the following 9 months. At present customers can apply at anytime up to 18th August 2020 for their 3 month premium deferral. This means customers with life insurance, critical illness, income protection, over 50s or whole of life policies can take a break from payments while retaining their current benefits and levels of cover. We are making this available to customers with personal or business individual protection policies.

Further details for advisers can be found here.

What else are you doing to support customers at this time?

During the COVID-19 crisis and the unprecedented demands on our health system, along with other Protection insurer members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) we are offering support to all customers who may be affected by the impact of Coronavirus when making a claim on a life, critical illness, or income protection policy and reducing the burden on the National Health Service (NHS). This means we will;

  • Support the NHS: Avoid placing unnecessary burden on the National Health Service
  • Support those who need to make a claim: Do everything possible in these challenging circumstances to continue to process claims and support our customers.
  • Support vulnerable customers: we will continue to prioritise claims from vulnerable customers, being flexible in our approach where possible.

 

Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times for all of us.

 

PT151055 05/2020

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