A life insurance industry body has sought to assure advisers and clients that insurance policies purchased before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic will cover policyholders for coronavirus-related death claims.
In a statement, FSC chief executive Sally Loane said policyholders could be assured that all insurers signed up to the council’s life insurance code of practice had confirmed they would be covered if a policy had been purchased prior to 11 March, when the virus was declared a pandemic.
“Our code subscribers have confirmed that there are no exclusions in their existing life insurance policies as at 11 March 2020 that would prevent the policy paying out for a death claim related to coronavirus, if you follow government travel advice,” Ms Loane said.
“No one should be concerned about their existing life cover and you can always check with your life insurance company or individual life cover, or your superannuation trustee for group life cover in superannuation, about your cover.”
Ms Loane said those who had purchased a policy after this date should consult their insurer, as there could be exclusions or waiting periods.
“If you have reinstated, increased or taken out new life cover since 11 March 2020 or are intending to do so, you should ask your life insurance company or superannuation trustee when your new cover will start and whether there are any exclusions,” she said.
“You may be asked about your past or potential risk of exposure to coronavirus, for example, if you have recently travelled. Depending on your circumstances, the start date for your new cover might be deferred, for example for 30 days or until you have fully recovered from coronavirus if you have had it, or you might have an exclusion applied to your policy.”
Ms Loane said insurers had business continuity plans in place to ensure they were able to deal with queries from policyholders during the crisis.
“All life insurance companies have pandemic risk management plans in place in line with APRA Prudential Practice Guide 233. These plans are there to ensure that, if for example large numbers of staff are absent from work, or working from home, essential functions such as dealing with claims and customer enquiries are prioritised,” she said.
Ms Loane said the insurance industry was “carefully monitoring” the crisis as it developed and would provide further updates in due course.
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