Press Release – Fears About Workers Insurance Cover During Pandemic but Brokers Ireland Offer Reassurance
Wed Apr 22 2020
The current Covid-19 pandemic is causing fear and anxiety among consumers about where they stand on their protection policies in the event of layoffs, reduced working hours, the suspension of pension contributions by employers, or family members falling gravely ill, Brokers Ireland said today.
The organisation which represents 1,250 Broker firms said Brokers have been inundated with requests for clarity and reassurance. “At this point almost all of the main insurers have moved to implement temporary measures that will guarantee continuity of entitlement even though contributions may have stopped in the short-term,” Rachel McGovern, Director of Financial Services at Brokers Ireland said.
“Where employees have been permanently let go or are no longer being paid, contributions to pensions can be stopped and later recommenced. Arrangements can be made to ensure any group protection benefits connected with the Pension remain in place for this period. Where employees continue to be paid, full or reduced income, all pension contributions – employer, employee and additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) can be temporarily stopped for up to three months or the next renewal date, without impacting cover.”
Ms McGovern said serious illness cover, a payment made to policyholders who suffer a serious illness, may still apply for serious conditions arising from Covid-19, even if the disease is not a defined/ serious illness listed in policies.
“While claims are not payable specifically for Covid 19 consumers who fall seriously ill may be eligible to claim for conditions arising from Covid -19.”
She said the general position in relation to income protection cover with all major insurers is you cannot claim in the event of self-isolation, but you can claim if you have been diagnosed with the illness and will not be able to work as a result. “The relevant agreed waiting period for payment commences once diagnosis is made,” Ms McGovern said.
She said many queries to Brokers in recent days relate to life cover in the event of a loved one falling ill. “Generally there is no change to life cover. Pay-outs are subject to the normal terms and conditions applicable on the policy.” Ms McGovern advised consumers to check the details of their individual policies for further information or seek the advice of their Broker.
“It’s important that insurers be notified of your current position so that you can register your situation and protect your entitlements. There is a current legally binding 21 day rule related to non-remittance of contributions whereby a report must be made to the Pensions Authority,” she said.
This is an extraordinarily difficult time for families and individuals, she said. “It is to be hoped that the vast majority of people do not contract Covid-19 disease and that those who do are lucky enough to get over it without too much difficulty. Unfortunately that will not be the case for many. “Our thoughts and gratitude are with our hard working medics, support staff and all essential workers at this time,” she said.
22 April 2020