One of the most frequently asked questions we have been receiving is:
"Has Covid-19 impacted on Life Insurance and the application process?"
Ultimately, Covid-19 has impacted on all of our lives in one way or another, so it should come as no surprise that it has affected the life insurance application process too.
To help clarify the situation, we have broken the areas that have been affected into 'New customers & new applications', 'Impacts on underwriting' and 'Existing customers - claims'.
New Life Insurance customers and new Life Insurance applications
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, many life insurance companies have introduced new questions to their application forms. This has been done in order to establish and manage the insurance risks it poses.
The questions that they are asking are to establish if someone has:
- Coronavirus symptoms (for example a new continuous cough and/or a high temperature)
- Been advised to self-isolate
- Tested positive for Coronavirus
- Had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for or suspected to have Coronavirus.
If you have a recent history of any of these then it's likely that any application may be postponed.
Please also be aware that providers are increasingly withrawing their 'Free cover' during underwriting. Please refer to the provider Key Features Document for more information regarding this.
Impacts on underwriting
Insurers are all too aware of the strain that Coronavirus is currently placing on our NHS.
To our knowledge, Insurers are trying to underwrite applications without the need for additional information from GPs or requesting you attend a nurse medical screening where they can.
Unfortunately, there will be some cases where this simply is not possible.
Due to the unprecedented events that are unfolding, we understand that there will likely be delays in response times from GPs who have been contacted for additional information from Insurers.
There are also going to be delays in medical examinations and nurse screenings taking place for the time being, as many of the screening teams are following Government advice to practice social distancing. Some providers are now arranging for screenings to be done remotely (for instance via video call), where possible.
We also understand that it's proving difficult for some people to obtain cover where the sum assured (how much cover you'd like to secure) is over certain limits which would normally cause the provider to request additional medical information automatically.
If you think the above might apply to you, or if you have medical disclosures, a hazardous occupation or dangerous hobbies you may wish to speak to an adviser. They will conduct research on your behalf and assess who the most suitable providers are for your specific needs.
An adviser may also be able to suggest alternative ways of obtaining the cover your require, without the need for additional medical information being requested or by facilitating alternative arrangements.
We will continue to monitor what life insurance providers are doing regarding underwriting and endeavour to keep you up to date with any developments.
Existing customers - Life Insurance claims
Claims against existing life insurance plans should not be impacted at all as the underwriting at the time of placing their policy live would not have known of this coming risk. Coronavirus claims will be made against the terms and conditions of the existing plan and the usual claims terms.
We do not know of any plans that have contained exclusions in relation to pandemics or the contraction of a virus in a foreign country, so long as you have accurately declared any previous/ expected foreign travel.
One note specifically regarding Income Protection policy claims is that usually the Insurer would get written confirmation from your GP that you are unable to work due to accident or illness. If this confirmation isn’t available, for example you are having to self-isolate, insurers are working hard to agree alternatives to ensure that they can pay claims quickly.
From all at Cavendish Online, we hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy during these difficult times. We would also urge everyone to follow Government advice during these unprecedented events to support the NHS and the safety and wellbeing of others.