What are the insurers doing?
Life and health insurers are not making changes to any existing policies. In regards to new applications there are some changes, and the different companies are taking different actions on that. One this week announced their Redundancy cover is not going to be available until further notice. But they are still fully operational, and across the different insurers I still have access to all the options and cover types.
Most are now asking questions about recent travel, or plans to travel, and closely examining the answers. But for the most part it’s business as usual. The companies have contingecy plans, and business continuation plans. Some staff are already working from home, and the systems to enable remote access are already in place.
If you or someone you know needs to get new cover, or change, increase or decrease their existing cover, I am here to help.
Will my insurance cover me?
If you die by almost any cause you will be covered. The only exclusions a good policy will have are if the beneficial owner causes the death, or the insured dies while participating in a criminal act, or suicide in the firtst 13 months. That’s it.
FWIW though, the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths have been elderly people who also had a co-morbidity factor such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes or a lung condition. While this means that life isnurers have not been affected too badly, it also means we really need to look after our seniors.
This type of cover works on a list of conditions, and Covid-19 did not exist when you got yours so it probably isn’t on the list. But the policies I use have some catch-all clauses that could respond, such as intensive care benefit that pays out if you are a severe case that requires 3 or more days in ICU. If you got yours at a bank or non-adviser provider I’m happy to check it.
Income insurance / mortgage cover
This is the biggie. There are no generic exclusions for infectious disease. If you have this type of cover, and are sick and can’t work for longer than the wait time, you will be covered under the standard terms of your policy.
First of all, remember health insurance is NOT for emergency. That’s what ambulances and ED are for. Health insurance could be called on to help access follow ups or treatments after the critical phase. It may also be needed to access treatment or surgery that gets pushed aside by Covid-19 cases!
Most providers had declared Covid-19 a “known event” by mid February. This means no cover for travel cost losses for policies purcahsed after. For those who made plans and bought cover prior, medical costs are still covered, but some travel costs are not. Some plans have a built-in exclusion for pandemics and epidemics – this is more common in those free policies that come with credit cards.
The Government today took the unprecedented move of declaring the whole world unsafe to travel, issuing ‘Do Not Travel’ warnings for all overseas travel. Our borders are also temporally closed to overseas travellers. These moves might be enough to change the minds of even the most stubborn among us who have plans to holiday overseas. The NZ Herald has started a daily campaign promoting GO NZ – Treasures in our own back yard. Reminds me of the 1980s slogan; Don’t leave town until you’ve seen the country.
Not so good news here. No policy that I know of covers closure due to infectious disease. These policies are designed for material damage from earthquake, fire, flood etc. The support package for businesses and employers announced this week is your best bet – talk to your accountant about the requirements for accessing that.
We’re all in this together, and we can all help each other. If you or someone you know needs to check their cover, I am here to help. Just get in touch.