A ‘pandemic clause’ could see people excluded from cover coronavirus ?
As covid-19 spreads rapidly across the globe and every country takes measures to contain it, what help can consumers expect from their insurers?
Travel policies, for instance, have very specific wording for pandemics – which means that once a virus or illness is deemed a ‘pandemic’ by the World Health Organisation (WHO), people will not be covered in case of infection while travelling.
While most insurers have worked to keeps their customers informed, does this exclusion clause apply to health and life insurance as well?
To understand whether this is the case, International Adviser reached out to industry to find out.
A spokesperson for Aviva UK confirmed that its health and life insurance clients will be covered.
“Death claims arising from the coronavirus infection would be paid, subject to the usual policy terms and conditions,” they said.
And a similar stance is taken for health insurance, since the response in the UK is being co–ordinated by the NHS.
“While Aviva health insurance customers in the UK would be covered should they contract the illness, subject to standard policy terms, the identification of covid-19 is taking place in either a primary care or emergency setting and there are protocols on where patients will be managed, as set out by Public Health England,” they continued.
“There is currently no treatment for covid-19 and management is supportive care, which can include a period of intensive care stay.
“Treatment of patients with covid-19 is being managed centrally in line with Public Health England’s strategy to contain the pandemic, with the NHS leading the response.
“Currently, NHS consultants will deliver care regardless of where the patient might be physically located, which may at a future point be in a private hospital requisitioned by the NHS.
“Aviva supports its health insurance customers when the care they require is not readily available in private facilities and where private health insurance is not going to expediate access to care, as in the case of any customer hospitalised with covid-19.
“In these cases, NHS Cash Benefit would be payable from Aviva health insurance policies in accordance with the terms and conditions for any NHS in-patient stay,” the firm’s spokesperson added.
Most policies will protect consumers
The Association of British Insurers (ABI), the UK’s trade body for the sector, confirmed Aviva’s stance and said that other types of cover, such as income protection, would be payable to clients.
“Anyone showing symptoms of covid-19 should contact NHS 111 and seek assistance from the NHS,” a spokesperson for the ABI said.
“Private medical insurance customers may also have access to online support services provided via their policy for advice and support but should go to the NHS if they need urgent assistance for covid-19, as private hospitals do not include emergency facilities.’
“Income protection may cover loss of earnings if someone if off sick due to covid-19, but this will be dependent on the type of cover they have.”
The fine print
But there is a sub–section of policies that will not cover coronavirus in case of infection.
“The majority of policies are long–term and are designed to pay out after several months, however there are some short–term policies that are designed to pay out from day one or week one.
“There are a very small number of providers who have recently inserted covid-19 exclusions for new short–term policies only,” the ABI spokesperson added.