Who are the insurers really supporting front line workers
The NHS and healthcare workers in general are quite rightly the darlings of the nation right now. These brave people are selflessly putting their own health at risk in order to provide care and support to patients that are facing possibly one of the toughest fights of their life. In the last week we have seen a number of insurers release statements about how they will be supporting such workers and offer as many as possible the vital cover they need. In this article we look at who is doing what and importantly look to provide more clarity around who this affects.
Over the last month many insurers have added specific coronavirus questions to their application that will generally cover four areas;
- Have they tested positive for COVID-19
- Do they have COVID-19 symptoms
- Are they self-isolating due to COVID-19
- Have they had contact with someone suffering from or suspected of suffering from COVID-19
In general, if a client answers yes to any of these questions, their application will be postponed for a period of time. For those key workers that are in the front line (and especially NHS and health workers), this has meant that it is very difficult to obtain any sort of cover as they will have to answer yes to the last question.
In recent days Aviva, Guardian and Royal London (who all ask about contact with COVID-19 sufferers on their application) have announced that this will no longer be the case. Whilst very carefully worded by each insurer, in essence they will quite rightly not take into account contact with COVID-19 sufferers if the contact was in their working environment. Where the client has been in contact with someone suffering from symptoms or has COVID-19, outside of their workplace then the application will likely still be postponed.
This is clearly a fantastic step forward but does leave the question of who exactly qualifies. NHS and health workers are clearly front and foremost in people’s minds, but there are many other occupations that are putting their health at risk by providing valuable services to the nation. To clearly understand their precise position we provided a detailed list of relevant occupations to each insurer to state which will qualify. Guardian provided a response on the specific occupations whilst Aviva and Royal London have actually applied the changes to all occupations. Below we provide more details on each insurers approach:
Where a client has no medical disclosures, are not experiencing symptoms of or tested positive for COVID-19, the client will be referred to Aviva’s underwriters and regardless of their occupation, they would expect to offer terms even if they have had direct contact with coronavirus sufferers within their place of work.
Aviva will also be prioritising, applications from front line health care workers such as doctors, nurses, midwives, consultants etc. Whilst, Aviva have not given a definitive list of the specific occupations this applies to, we would suggest that any advisers that have clients that work in healthcare or the front line, contact Aviva once the application is submitted to see if this can be prioritised.
Guardian will apply the contact with a coronavirus sufferer disregard to the following key workers:
- Hospital workers
- Ambulance workers and paramedics
- People working at GP surgeries
- COVID-19 testing site workers
- People providing mental healthcare services
- Workers developing a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment
- Care workers
- Teachers (teaching face to face)
Royal London has adapted the customer journey for individuals who have had direct contact with someone who’d confirmed or suspected to have Coronavirus. The review was triggered from feedback from some healthcare workers who sought clarification on how to answer the original question. Royal London’s solution applies to all customers who provide the answer that they have been in ‘direct contact’, regardless of occupation. Further drill-down questions have been added that will allow customers access to cover who have had no symptoms, specific medical advice to self-isolate or a current positive test for coronavirus.
Recent times have been testing for the nation as a whole, but as the #clapforthenhs has shown the appreciation for the NHS and front-line workers is immense. These people who are bravely putting other people’s health before their own deserve not to be penalised by the life insurance industry for doing so. Aviva, Guardian and Royal London are setting a great example by actively seeking to support not only health care workers but many other front line workers. Protection Guru’s hope is that like in Australia, the industry as a whole can adopt this approach so that we can be there for front line workers at a time when they are risking everything for us. Any insurer not taking this stance should be re-considering their approach.