The Financial Services Council (FSC) has announced that people who lose their job, are stood down or have reduced working hours due to COVID-19 will not have their total and permanent disability (TPD) cover affected.
The initiative – on behalf of participating life insurance member companies – was aligned with the current JobKeeper scheme and would run to 27 September, 2020.
The initiative applied to existing life insurance cover and was designed to help if:
- You were working in your normal capacity on 11 March, 2020;
- Had reduced working hours or lost your job due to COVID-19 since 11 March, 2020;
- Had become disabled as a result of an illness or injury between 11 March, 2020, and 27 September, 2020, inclusive;
- Maintained your TPD cover at the time you become totally and permanently disabled; and
- Lodged your completed claim form on or before 1 January 2021.
Sally Loane, FSC chief executive, said the initiative aimed to ease concerns people had with their TPD cover by preventing changes to cover being automatically triggered because of COVID-19.
“A claim for TPD is assessed on whether the person is expected to be able to work ever again,” Loane said.
“For this reason, the TPD definition used to assess a claim is based on the person’s recent working arrangements.
“Typically, this depends on the number of hours the person was working and whether they were in casual work before the illness or injury happened.
“What this means is that some Australians who lost their job, were stood down or had reduced working hours due to COVID, could see their TPD coverage change from 11 June, 2020,” Loane said.
“To address this, today’s announcement ensures that if you make a TPD claim resulting from an illness or injury occurring since the pandemic has started, participating life insurers will assess your claim based on your working arrangements as at 11 March, 2020 – the date when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic – meaning you keep the cover you had based on your working arrangements before the COVID pandemic declaration.”
The announcement was timed to ensure the initiative would be set up before anyone was affected.
As of the end of 2018, there were over 7.5 million Australians with TPD through their group superannuation policy and over 25,000 claims were lodged in 2019.
It followed the FSC life insurers commitment to frontline healthcare workers not being prevented from obtaining life insurance due to potential exposure to COVID-19.