Insurers give COVID-19 undertaking via FSC

6 April 2020

Australia’s major life insurers have moved to head off further uncertainty and criticism by delivering an undertaking on the cover of healthcare workers who are exposed to COVID-19.

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.

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“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”.

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Hi Jane, Also don't forget to thank those incredible financial advisers who are also offering an amazing service to those clients right now around their Insurance Superannuation and Estate Planning structures. Whilst we are not in the front line, unlike the incredible health care workers, our level of care, compassion and service to Australians workers who face an uncertain future can not be underestimated by making sure we give them clarity and control around important financial decisions they need to make.

Very well said David Bourke.
Wouldn't it be amazing if at some point in time the Govt actually acknowledged the work we do and the benefit we can deliver to Australians instead of attempting to compromise us and destroy the fabric of the financial advice profession.
We are an integral part of educating people about important life and financial decisions that the consequences of can be life changing for themselves, their families or their estates.
By advisers educating Australians we allow people to make informed decisions rather than uninformed mistakes that may lead to an increased load on the social security sector, the Govt and taxpayer.
Can you imagine if Jane Hume came out and stated " I would like to thank all the Financial Advisers around the country who have worked around the clock to assist and provide advice to their valued clients in this very stressful period of unrest and economic challenge.
The contribution you make to this country is invaluable to the financial well being of so many Australians and we say thank you ".
Well, there you go Jane....I have just saved your speech writer a task and I look forward to the press conference soon.
Or....would you rather just support the implementation of so much red tape and duplicated compliance requirements that the delivery of advice to Australians will only be available to a very few.?

Jane here: "the latter, this is one policy stance the govt will not budge on regardless of how much economic damage we face"

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