Protection – FAQs
We are here to help you
We know this is a difficult and unsettling time for our customers and we are closely monitoring the impact of the Coronavirus 2019-nCOV outbreak. We are also experiencing a high level of calls into our contact centres and it may take longer than usual to speak to us. In the meantime, we’ve created some online support and answers to frequently asked questions which may help.
Have you changed your application questions?
As a result of COVID-19 we initially amended our health and travel questions.
- changes to our current symptoms questions to more explicitly capture symptoms that are associated with COVID-19 (fever and high temperature)
- an update to our future travel question to highlight anyone who intends to travel, against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance.
If you disclose that you have, or have had, Covid-19, we will be postponing offering terms, typically for 1 month after recovery for Life cover and 3 months for Critical Illness or Income Protection.
If you tell us that you are intending to travel against FCO guidance, we will not offer any terms until you have returned to the UK.
We have now introduced a Coronavirus (COVID-19) specific question:
Have you tested positive or been in contact with someone who has Coronavirus (COVID-19), have you had a fever or high temperature, a new continuous cough, breathing difficulties or any other symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) or been advised to self-isolate for any other reason?
If someone has come into contact with someone with COVID-19 and not been advised to self-isolate then standard terms can be offered for all benefits. Our underwriters will automatically disregard contact in the course of the normal occupation, e.g. health worker, where there are no symptoms or no instruction to self-isolate.
In addition, we have made a small change to our “Symptoms of ill Health” question to identify fever or high temperature suffered in the last 3 months.
What is the position if I am self-Isolating?
If you are self-isolating due to symptoms that you are experiencing, then this will need to be disclosed on the application form. If the application has been completed but you are still being underwritten or if you have been accepted but the policy has not yet commenced, then you must inform Zurich under the duty to take reasonable care relating to any change in health prior to the policy starting.
In these circumstances, where you have been advised to self-isolate due to experiencing symptoms yourself, your application will be postponed, typically for 1 month after a full recovery for Life cover, or for 3 months after a full recovery for Critical Illness.
If you are applying for Life cover with or without Critical Illness cover and are self-isolating due to someone else in your household experiencing symptoms, your application will be postponed for 1 month after your self-isolation has been completed.
If you are applying for an Income Protection Plan or have requested either Waiver of Premium or Total & Permanent Disability benefits on your plan you will need to answer the question regarding being off work or working reduced hours and provide full details if you are self-isolating. This will include providing full details as to whether the self-isolation is due to symptoms suffered by others or because of contact with someone with the virus. If you are unable to work as a result of the self-isolation, the application for these benefits will be postponed.
Where you have been advised to self-isolate due to experiencing symptoms yourself, any application for Income Protection, Waiver of Premium or Total & Permanent Disability benefits will be postponed for 3 months from after you have made a full recovery. If you are self-isolating due to someone else in your household experiencing symptoms, your application will be postponed for 1 month after your self-isolation has been completed.
If you are staying at home due to being advised that you fall into the category of requiring “shielding” and you have no other reason to self-isolate and are not experiencing any symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19) then we will continue to assess your application based on your current health.
Will you pay out for Critical Illness if I get coronavirus?
Coronavirus is not a specified ‘Critical Illness’ on Zurich’s policy. The good news is that the vast majority of people who contract the illness go on to make a full recovery. In some cases, people will die as a result, and in such circumstances, the life insurance attached to our plans would pay out.
Under our “Respiratory Failure – Of Specified Severity” definition, it is possible a claim might be presented but the opinion of our Claims and Medical Officer is that coronavirus is unlikely to produce the permanent symptoms or impairment to lung function required to meet this definition.
We will consider any such claims presented on the basis of the individual circumstances.
If a customer bought one of our Critical Illness Select policies then under the “Intensive Care – 10 days continuous duration” if their Coronavirus required ventilation and intensive care, then a claim could be presented and considered.
Will you pay out on a Life Insurance Policy if I die of coronavirus?
Yes, following our normal claims process and assessment.
Will you pay out on an Income Protection Plan if I am off work as a result of coronavirus/complications?
Following our normal claims process and assessment, if the definition of disability is satisfied due to the coronavirus, any complications of coronavirus or its impact on any underlying or existing conditions them an income protection claim would be payable after the end of the deferred period.
Am I covered regardless of how/where it was caught?
No, we would have to understand and consider the full individual circumstances surrounding any claim.
Any other key process issues we should be aware of? For example, if I am required to submit a GP report, will there be delays due to the pressure currently on GP surgeries?
Given the current demands being made on GP’s and to allow them to concentrate on maximising patient outcomes, Zurich has taken the decision to suspend its GP Report chase activity. We will be making an initial call to ensure it has been received and that the surgery are in a position to complete the report and any requirements, such as pre-payment, they may have.
At the current time we continue to receive completed GP reports back.
Unfortunately, we have been informed by the third parties who conduct our medical examinations and nurse screenings that they are suspending their traditional services. They have been informed that these suppliers have launched a remote examination and blood results service, we will be using it where it is appropriate to do so.
For all new applications where our normal underwriting philosophy would have been to obtain a medical examination or a nurse screening, we shall issue a GP report in its place and then advise further upon receipt of the completed report as to whether we can offer the full cover applied for or if we need to reduce cover in order to proceed
What are we going to do for customers who can’t pay their premiums?
We have introduced a series of measures to try and help customers who are currently experiencing financial difficulties.
For most products and regardless of which administration platform your policy is on, you will be offered the option to defer premiums for a period of three months.
If you want to defer premiums please consider the fact that once a policyholder has built up arrears, it may be difficult to bring finances back on track, so it is important to keep this in mind when you discuss your options with us.
For those customers on our Life Protection Platform there is an additional option to reduce the sum assured and then increase it back to the original level.
For customers who hold an income protection policy (on our Life Protection Platform) we are waiving the requirement for it to be in force for a minimum period of twelve months before the career break option can be utilised.
To understand more about these options or to discuss your options further please call our Customer Options Team on 0370 241 6945.
How are you currently dealing with applications from doctors and nurses?
We are treating medical professionals the same as any other customer.
Have you altered you risk appetite or underwriting approach since coronavirus?
As a result of Coronavirus and the impact that is has on older lives and specifically those with health issues, we have reduced our risk appetite for non-standard lives over age 60. We have also amended our point of sale rules to reflect our reduced risk appetite for lives over age 70 at point of sale.
Will you offer a new income policy to someone who is currently furloughed?
If yes, would they declare their normal pre-furloughed salary/income or their furloughed salary?
If I am furloughed and become ill, can I still claim on my income protection policy if my employer chooses to:
A) put me on sick leave - Yes, as you are still gainfully employed
B) continue me on the furlough scheme - Yes, although ongoing income would be taken in to account.
If I am self employed and unable to work due to lockdown or lack of trade, can I still claim on my income protection policy if I am sick?
Yes, we would take the view that you have not ceased working out of choice and as such we would assess your claim.
If my employer enforces a COVID-19 related pay cut, how will this impact my benefit level if I have not claimed yet?
We would take a reasonable approach based on average income.If you are already claiming and take a pay cut, there will be no impact on those already in claim.