Working under the auspices of the Financial Services Council (FSC) and in line with the Federal Government, the life insurers issued the following announcement:
“Today the FSC announced a commitment on behalf of participating life insurance FSC member companies to ensure that frontline healthcare workers are not prevented from obtaining life insurance cover purely because of their exposure, or potential exposure, to coronavirus.
“Frontline healthcare workers are a group who could be exposed to contracting COVID-19 and to this end, participating life insurers are making a commitment that their exposure, or potential exposure, will not of itself be used to:
1. Decline an application for cover;
2. Charge a higher premium; or
3. Apply a COVID-19 pandemic risk exclusion to any of the benefits offered, subject to the relevant conditions and financial limits.
Commenting on the move, the Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology, Senator Jane Hume said frontline workers were doing an amazing job in the crisis, and was “vital that we’re ensuring their work won’t adversely affect their life insurance cover”.
“I thank the FSC and insurers for their responsiveness on this issue.”
FSC chief executive, Sally Loane said in developing the commitment, the FSC had ensured a broad definition of a relevant frontline healthcare worker.
“This means not only doctors, nurses and hospital staff but also those who may potentially be exposed to COVID-19 such as police, pharmacists, paramedics and age care workers. While not everyone will be able to get new cover for other unrelated reasons, this commitment means potential exposure to COVID-19 alone won’t affect the cover these workers can get with participating life insurers,” she said.
“We hope this measure will help reduce any anxiety that our healthcare workforce may feel when working on the frontline. This is part of helping these Australians to have peace of mind for themselves and their families while continuing their vital service to our community.”
The announcement said that “for people who had life cover in place before 11 March, 2020, when the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus to be a pandemic, our members have confirmed that there are no exclusions that would prevent the policy paying out for a death claim related to coronavirus, if you follow Government travel advice”.