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Coronavirus – The impact on group insurance

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to dominate headlines, our Individual and Group Protection businesses are monitoring the current situation carefully.

We understand this may raise questions on how the outbreak affects our products. We will continue to protect our customers and pay claims as a result of coronavirus, subject to the standard terms and conditions of our policies.

We’ve also prepared an FAQ based on the questions we’ve received so far from our Group Protection advisers and customers.

 

Are eligible employees covered if they die from coronavirus?

Yes, our Group Life policies cover death by any cause.

 

Do you have business continuity plans in place for the coronavirus?

Yes, we will continue to keep critical business functions in place for both Individual and Group Protection. We have a team monitoring the situation carefully, so keep an eye on our news page and social media channels for further updates.

 

What support for employees is available if it’s needed?

The NHS advice on what to do if an employee suspects they have coronavirus can be found here. We also provide a range of employee and employer Support Services that provide guidance and advice on different issues. Click here to find out more.

 

Do your policy terms require customers to follow Foreign Office travel guidance for short term business travel?

We’ll continue to cover members outside the UK when they’re on holiday or travelling for business. We don’t exclude holiday or short-term business travel to other countries, including where the Foreign Office advises against travel.

 

Do you cover members on secondment outside the UK?

Yes, we can cover members who’ve been seconded to a country that’s included in our list of scheduled territories. We’ve included the full list below. Cover for any member working outside the UK permanently, or in a country outside of our scheduled territories should have previously been agreed or will be reviewed individually.

We’ll only pay a Group Income Protection claim to members outside a scheduled territory for a maximum of six months, unless it’s not medically advisable for the member to return to a scheduled territory, or a specific agreement is in place.

 

What’s your list of scheduled territories?

Our scheduled territories are:

  • The United Kingdom
  • All European Union (EU) countries
  • Andorra
  • Australia,
  • Canada
  • The Channel Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • The Isle of Man
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • San Marino
  • Switzerland
  • The Vatican City
  • USA

 

Will you request any additional travel information at rate review or renewal?

We won’t ask for any extra information beyond what we normally ask for. We still expect to be informed of any travel outside our scheduled territories.

 

Could coronavirus be considered a catastrophic event?

We define a catastrophic event as:

“One originating cause, event or occurrence or a series of related originating causes, events or occurrences, resulting in the deaths of four or more members, irrespective of when or where the members die”.

Coronavirus can be considered one originating cause. Our catastrophic event limits only apply to our Group Life Insurance policies. They don’t apply to our Group Income Protection and Group Critical Illness policies.

 

What catastrophic event limits apply to the policy?

Please check your quote or policy particulars to find out the limits that apply to your policy. These limits may differ based on the total amount insured and your business location.

Our standard travel event limit for Group Life Assurance is £20m.

 

Are members absent from work due to quarantine, following individual medical advice specific to the member, classed as ‘Actively at Work’?

These members would not meet our Actively at Work conditions. Specifically the second part of the definition:

‘Has not received medical advice to refrain from work’.

Read our full Actively at Work definition here.

Please note, generic government advice or that from the Chief Medical Officer to the whole UK population, is not considered ‘individual medical advice’.

 

Are members absent from work due to self-isolation classed as ‘Actively at Work’?

Members who are absent from work due to self-isolation following guidance from their employer, but who have not received medical advice to refrain from work, will be classed as actively at work.

 

If an employee has been furloughed, or is temporarily working reduced hours, how will this affect their benefit?

Furloughed employees or those temporarily working reduced hours will continue to be covered for their full benefit entitlement, providing their contract of employment is maintained and premiums are paid on this basis. It’s important that the data provided to us during this time reflects the full salary for each individual, and not the reduced amount that might be paid. 

For furloughed employees, benefits will be calculated from the date of last attendance. For employees temporarily working reduced hours, benefits will be calculated from the date they last worked their full contracted number of hours.

This stance will be reviewed on 1st June or if there is a change in Government support prior to this date.

We recognise that some customers may have amended contracts to reduce hours or salaries prior to Government intervention. We will offer a three month window from 16th March 2020, where we we will calculate benefits as described above. Beyond this window, the contracted salary will apply.


Where employers claim 80% of furloughed employees usual monthly wage costs from the Government (up to £2,500 p.m.), how will this affect their benefit?

Our understanding is that the contractual salary will remain in place. Where a salary definition includes reference to “Basic salary”, this will remain at 100%. Where a salary definition includes reference to “Total Earnings”, we will use the annual equivalent of his or her earnings in that period (or since joining the 'employer', if later). For Group Income Protection, bonuses will need to be averaged over the preceding three years in line with our standard terms and conditions.

This stance will be reviewed on 1st June or if there is a change in Government support prior to this date.

Please note that these are all subject to our standard terms and conditions.

 

More information

If you have any other questions about the impact of coronavirus on our products, please get in touch with your account manager, or contact us on:

groupcsc@canadalife.co.uk

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Canada Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

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Stonehaven UK Limited and MGM Advantage Life Limited, trading as Canada Life, are subsidiaries of The Canada Life Group (U.K.) Limited. Stonehaven UK Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. MGM Advantage Life Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.