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COVID-19: Protection Pledges

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During the COVID-19 crisis and the unprecedented demands on our health system, the Protection insurer members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI) are offering support to all their existing 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), as well as adapting processes for new customers. 

As lockdown measures ease and healthcare services open, Protection insurers remain committed to ensuring where possible that there are no unnecessary delays placed on customers claiming on a policy. As an industry, insurers will continue to source evidence from customers where it is appropriate to do so but will also source medical evidence from GPs and Consultants, where there is capacity 

Protection insurance pledges for existing customers

Protection insurers often seek medical evidence from GPs and Consultants to assess claims. Due to the significant demands on medical professionals during this crisis, protection insurers commit to source evidence from customers and other routes where appropriate to avoid placing unnecessary burden on our health service. Insurers also commit to support customers, especially those who are vulnerable, throughout the process. 

Protection insurance products can include additional services which may be of particular benefit at this time, such as online GP consultations or counselling.  Customers should check their policies or contact their adviser, insurer, or employer to see if their cover includes these additional services.   

1. Support the National Health Service 

Protection insurers will avoid placing unnecessary burden on the National Health Service and will be pragmatic about sourcing medical evidence for claims from GPs and Consultants. Insurers will use evidence supplied by their customer where appropriate. Where insurers are unable to obtain or use evidence supplied by their customer, insurers will gather evidence from alternative routes, such as from specialist nurses, other medical and rehabilitation providers, or employers. 

2. Support those who need to make a claim 

Protection insurers have activated business continuity plans and are doing everything possible in these challenging circumstances to continue to process claims and support their customers.  

Protection insurers will continue to communicate with customers in a clear and empathetic way, especially if there are any delays to claims or when gathering customer supplied evidence. 

3. Support vulnerable customers 

Protection insurers recognise that there will be many customers who will need additional support in the current circumstances and will continue to prioritise claims from vulnerable customers. Firms will be flexible in their approaches to supporting these customers, especially if they are experiencing financial hardship. 

Protection insurers are aware of the government’s advice for individuals with the most serious health conditions. If customers fall into this group, the ABI encourages them to speak to their adviser or insurer to ask for clarity on their policies. 

Please note that insurers are dealing with an unprecedented number of enquiries whilst adapting to these circumstances and are making every effort to respond to demand. Insurers are regularly updating their websites accordingly. If they can, customers should check online notices or policy details for information before contacting their insurer. 

The content above has been reviewed in July 2020 to fit the current government guidance.

Protection underwriting commitments for new customers    

In these challenging and uncertain times, protection insurers remain committed to helping people get life, critical illness and income protection products. They are adapting services to continue to offer cover to new customers and supporting the NHS to help reduce the burden on the NHS.  Insurers continue to offer cover to the majority of customers, and only a small proportion of applications will be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Most new applications can be accepted without needing to request medical evidence and can still be processed during the COVID-19 crisis.

There are some applications where insurers require medical evidence about a customer from a GP or other medical specialist to consider whether they can offer cover. Due to the significant demands on medical professionals during this crisis, there could be temporary delays to applications which require medical evidence.

Insurers are committed to exploring alternative ways to accept applications where medical evidence is required. Processes will be continually reviewed, taking into consideration any changes to Governmental or medical guidance. Any changes to their approaches will be communicated clearly to customers and advisers.

Protection insurers commit to:

  • Remaining “open for business” and offer cover to as many customers as possible during this challenging and unpredictable environment.
  • Acting responsibly in the context of the National Health Service’s priorities and be sensitive to the pressures on the healthcare services from the impact of COVID-19. This could mean that some applications from new customers are delayed or postponed to avoid putting further strain on healthcare services.
  • Explore alternative approaches to order to provide cover to new customers and be flexible when it is appropriate and possible to do so.
  • Continue to review practices that consider the latest Governmental and other medical guidance, with a view to returning to normal procedures as soon as is practical, and to proactively communicate any changes to their approaches to customers and advisers.