Insurers move to clarify coronavirus claims process

Insurers move to clarify coronavirus claims process

Protection providers in the UK have pledged to help policyholders needing to file a claim relating to coronavirus, but warned those in group schemes that not all claims might apply under the 'catastrophic event' clause.

VitalityLife has confirmed its members will be able to make a claim relating to Covid-19 on its serious illness and income protection plans.

This comes as VitalityHealth has introduced a special cash benefit to all their members covered with private medical insurance in the event they are admitted to hospital as an NHS patient as a direct result of infection by Covid-19.

Any VitalityHealth member hospitalised in the NHS due to Covid-19 will be eligible for a £250 payment per day, for the first eight days, rising to £500 from the ninth day onwards, subject to a maximum of £5,000. If the member contracts Covid-19 while already in hospital, the benefit will be paid from the point the infection was diagnosed.

This applies to all current members who have a Personal Healthcare, Business Healthcare or Corporate Healthcare plan with the benefit of Core Cover, until 30 June 2020. It’s also available to new customers subject to a one-month waiting period.

Keith Klintworth, managing director of VitalityHealth, said: “As the situation with Covid-19 evolves at pace, this additional benefit will support our members who find themselves in hospital, by providing financial support at what would be a very challenging time. This is part of our commitment to providing members with additional support at this time, when they may need it most.”

When it comes to group insurance, Canada Life has clarified that its group life insurance policies written to include cover for 'catastrophic events' will indeed apply to the coronavirus pandemic, but warned that, generally, people might need to check their definitions of event limits, as not everyone will be able to claim. 

Paul Avis, marketing director for Canada Life Group Insurance, said: "A 'catastrophic event' is described as 'one originating cause, event or occurrence or a series of related originating causes, events or occurrences, resulting in the deaths of four or more members, irrespective of when or where the members die'.

"Coronavirus can be considered one originating cause. Our catastrophic event limits only apply to our Group Life Insurance policies. They don’t apply to our Group Income Protection and Group Critical Illness policies."

But he said it was important for people to note that event limits tend to be £100m to £1bn before any claims limitation is initiated and, as the majority of deaths are likely to be in the post-working age population, most workplace deaths caused by Covid-19 will be for those with underlying health problems and so this is unlikely to happen.