On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a global pandemic. Accordingly, the FSC has issued the following statement on behalf of all FSC Life Insurance Code of Practice (the Code) subscribers for death claims relating to coronavirus in Australia made under life insurance policies. All life insurance companies issuing policies in Australia subscribe to the Code. A list of Code subscribers can be found here.
Life cover taken out before 11 March 2020
Our Code subscribers have confirmed that there are no exclusions in their existing life insurance policies as at 11 March 2020 that would prevent the policy paying out for a death claim related to coronavirus, if you follow Government travel advice. No-one should be concerned about their existing life cover and you can always check with your life insurance company (for individual life cover), or your superannuation trustee (for group life cover in superannuation), about your cover.
For new life cover
If you have reinstated, increased or taken out new life cover since 11 March 2020 or are intending to do so, you should ask your life insurance company or superannuation trustee when your new cover will start and whether there are any exclusions. Remember, you can speak to your adviser or shop around.
You may be asked about your past or potential risk of exposure to coronavirus, for example, if you have recently travelled. Depending on your circumstances, the start date for your new cover might be deferred, for example for 30 days or until you have fully recovered from coronavirus if you have had it, or you might have an exclusion applied to your policy.
Dealing with the pandemic
All life insurance companies have pandemic risk management plans in place in line with APRA Prudential Practice Guide 233. These plans are there to ensure that, if for example large numbers of staff are absent from work, or working from home, essential functions such as dealing with claims and customer enquiries are prioritised.
Life Insurance policies vary and this statement should not be taken as giving details of the terms of your particular cover or policy. Neither should this statement be taken as giving any details about other types of policy or benefits such as income protection, total permanent disability, accidental death, terminal illness, critical illness or trauma cover. You should check with your life insurance company or superannuation trustee for full details of your cover.
The life insurance industry is carefully monitoring the situation and will update this statement as the situation changes. This statement was last updated on 27 March 2020.
The above information is based on our enquiries with our Code subscribers and neither the FSC nor any of its employees accepts responsibility or a duty of care in relation to the information provided.
FINDING LOST LIFE POLICIES
Upon receiving inquiries from the public the FSC has launched a tool to help those impacted by the Australian Bushfires to locate life insurance policies in the event they cannot find or remember the details.
The FSC team can help to contact life insurance members on behalf of those affected, and have them check their records to determine whether they have a policy or hold other relevant information for those people.
About the Financial Services Council's Members
The Financial Services Council (FSC) is a leading peak body which sets mandatory Standards and develops policy for more than 100 member companies in Australia’s largest industry sector, financial services. Our Full Members represent Australia’s retail and wholesale funds management businesses, superannuation funds, life insurers, financial advisory networks and licensed trustee companies. Our Supporting Members represent the professional services firms such as ICT, consulting, accounting, legal, recruitment, actuarial and research houses.
The financial services industry is responsible for investing almost $3 trillion on behalf of more than 14.8 million Australians. The pool of funds under management is larger than Australia’s GDP and the capitalisation of the Australian Securities Exchange, and is the fourth largest pool of managed funds in the world.
OUR MEMBERSHIP OF THE INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT FUNDS ASSOCIATION (IIFA)
The Financial Services Council (FSC) is a member of The International Investment Funds Association (IIFA), an association which provides a forum for global information-sharing and collaboration to promote the investment fund industry. www.iifa.ca