Message from Tim Stoves, Managing Director, Group Protection

On 23 March 2020, we listened to our leaders and acted. The UK went into lockdown, with everyone in the country acting together to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Across our industry, providers have been quick to support advisers and customers. With your help, we’ve mobilised our workforces, adapted, and readied ourselves to support UK businesses. Right here, right now, we have a job to do.

Since the lockdown started, we’ve been completely focussed on delivering the best service possible and making sure claims are paid quickly. We’ve been hard at work, while listening carefully to our advisers and customers. Thanks to your support and the determination of our people, our service is operating normally and we remain here to support you.

There’s never been a more important time to support our employees and each other, but we know that UK SMEs don’t have access to the same services enjoyed by larger organisations. This has been brought into even greater focus by the current crisis.

To help SMEs, I’m proud to announce that throughout 2020, we’re providing over 9000 customers with WeCare - a 24/7 online GP and mental health support service, provided by our long-term partner Teladoc HealthIt’s available to every customer with a policy on our online platform, CLASS.

We’ll provide this at no extra cost. We want to help our customers. We don’t know how long people will be isolating in their homes or restricted in their movements. We think this service can really help people right now, especially during the current lockdown.

Our CLASS customers can now support their employees with:

  • 24/7 access to a UK-based GP, available through a phone or video call
  • Counselling sessions to support their mental health – increasingly needed right now, as we isolate away from family and friends
  • Health and wellbeing consultations – smoking cessation, get fit programmes and more
  • Expert second opinions from leading consultants, provided by Best Doctors

We had to adapt and change our plans to make this service available to so many customers. We initially planned a phased rollout to renewing customers. After witnessing recent events, we felt it was only right to offer this all our CLASS customers, at a time when it can make a real difference.

In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus has completely changed how we live and work. At the start of this crisis, our CEO Doug Brown, provided an update to our advisers, customers and communities. With the lockdown recently extended, I wanted to share a group protection update with you.

I’m proud of our Canada Life team, as you will undoubtedly be proud of your teams. We’ve all worked tirelessly to keep our businesses running effectively while keeping our people safe. We care.

We’ve been completely focussed on the job at hand. We are paying claims quickly, servicing our customers, renewing policies and writing new business. We are protecting more people. Those who need our support are receiving it. We’re pleased that so many UK employers are still choosing us to protect their business and people. We’re in a strong financial position and supported by our parent company, Great West Life Co, so you can rest assured that we’ll remain here to support you and continue paying claims to those in need.

As at 24 April 2020, we’ve paid 28 claims where coronavirus has been referenced in the claim process. This is real and it’s affecting all of us. We will pay more claims. We are here to help in the saddest of times.

We’ll support the UK workforce

Our Employee Assistance Programme, EmployeeCare, provides 24/7 support and telephone counselling for employees. Our legal advice service, BusinessCare, can help employers navigate the difficult legal issues facing companies as a result of coronavirus. If you’re an adviser or customer, please take some time to look through our support services – I think they could really help people right now. You can find out more here.

We’ll support change
UK organisations, large and small, are having to adapt. And we will adapt our products to meet their needs. We’ll continue to cover furloughed employees, those temporarily working reduced hours, or those temporarily on a reduced salary. And we’ll cover them for their full benefit, as long as their contract of employment is maintained and premiums are up-to-date.

We’ve also relaxed our requirements, accepting those who are self-isolating at their employer’s request as actively at work and eligible for cover.

We’ll keep things simple
We’ve changed the way we’re accepting forms. All our key forms can now be completed online and sent to us via email. This includes our health declarations, claim forms and on-risk documents. We’ve also received great feedback from advisers on the clarity and transparency of our coronavirus FAQs. Please keep the questions and feedback coming in.

Together, we’ll do everything we can to help
Finally, I want to thank you - our advisers and customers. You have worked with us to keep things running as smoothly as possible and we genuinely appreciate your support. We remain here to help you throughout this crisis. We’ll continue to keep you updated throughout this period as we monitor the situation and any change in Government advice.

Stay safe and well,