As the number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK and across Europe continues to rise, we are monitoring events closely and will continue to update our guidance as the situation evolves.
Updated 17:00hrs 25/03/2020
Message from our Chief Executive
As the situation with COVID-19 continues to develop, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our members, our business partners and our employees for their loyalty and support during what is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone.
For all our members, we are committed to making the right decisions and looking at each enquiry on an individual basis. We are experiencing an extremely high number of calls and at the same time our staff are adapting to working from home. Each call is important to us and we will get back to you, it may take a little longer than usual and I thank you in advance for your patience at this time.
With the NHS currently under immense pressure, I would like to remind all members about HealthWise, our free member benefits app. At this time all our HealthWise services are still available. Currently we can provide access to remote GP consultations which can be used for general treatment and advice on day-to-day, non-urgent medical conditions. In addition, and depending on the policy you hold, HealthWise can also provide free access to mental health, physiotherapy, nutritional and lifestyle support. These services are provided at no extra cost to members. Visit our HealthWise page for more information.
For existing members (prior to 16th March 2020) we continue to assess COVID-19 related claims for medically advised self-isolation. The length of claim period is dependent on both your specific circumstance and the government guidance issued. Any payment we make for self-isolation will be outside of the normal terms and conditions. For new applications we have made some changes to our policies, which you can review below.
Private Medical Insurance
You may well have seen the announcement that the NHS will work with private hospitals to increase the capacity of our healthcare services. We await further guidance from our healthcare providers on what this means for private hospital treatments, but all our members will continue to be able to access consultations with specialists and practitioners over the phone and online (where clinically appropriate). We are monitoring this situation carefully and will update members of any changes that might affect them in due course.
We are committed to doing more to help those in need of protection. We look at each application individually and consider the personal circumstances of the applicant. The current COVID-19 outbreak brings a new challenge for our life insurance products that are largely designed to protect those deemed at high risk based on NHS guidelines. We are still accepting applications for both our Real Life and Managed Life products, however any applicants who the NHS would regard as higher risk may see a delay in their application. In some cases, the application may be postponed for a period of up to six months before any decision is made.
A number of new applications and claims require medical evidence. In order to observe social-distancing we will not be asking applicants to undergo health screenings. We are working with our partners to find alternative ways in which to underwrite such applications and what information can be used as a substitute. Currently we are requesting medical reports from GP surgeries only when essential, as we are mindful that their priority is to support the national response to this pandemic.
Since we were founded over 100 years ago, we have always made our members our priority and will continue to do so through this current crisis. I would like to wish you all good health and I will continue to provide updates on any changes should they arise.
- Exclusion for income protection policies underwritten from 18th March 2020
In addition to our stance on self-isolation (please see details below), from Wednesday 18th March we are adding an exclusion to all new policies with a Day-1 or 1-week waiting period. This also applies to previously submitted applications that were not underwritten before 18th March. The exclusion will state:
In the first 12 months after policy start date, any claims due to, or arising from symptoms of respiratory illnesses which includes colds, coughs, influenza-like illnesses, coronavirus infections and upper respiratory tract infections, with or without fever [will be excluded].
- Self-Isolation – income protection applications submitted after 12:00pm 16th March 2020
For new applications submitted on or after 16th March 2020, any claims for self-isolation (including medically advised self-isolation), will not be considered.