Insurers provide relief to policyholders amid COVID-19

Insurers provide relief to policyholders amid COVID-19

Insurers have announced relief for policyholders by ma­king available products and services to those afflicted by COVID-19, as well as extending payment deadlines.

In an advisory, Benedict Sison, Sun Life of Canada (Phili­ppines) Inc. chief executive and country head, said that while all client service centers in Luzon were temporarily closed, the insurer extended the grace period for premium payments to 91 days.

“This extension is applicable for policies or preneed plans with due dates falling between Feb. 15 and May 31,” Sison said.

Sun Life would also provide hospitalization benefit, prioritized claim, as well as death benefit to a client who fell sick with COVID-19, as long as aligned to policy contract provisions.

For Pru Life UK, the grace period for premium payments due between March 16 and April 30 was extended to 60 days instead of the standard 31 days for policyholders nationwide.

“All payments made within the extended grace period will be accepted with no interest charges,” said Pru Life UK chief customer marketing officer Allan Tumbaga.

In the case of United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corp., it will “continue to extend full coverage to all COVID-19 cases for our health card holders, subject to the other terms of our agreement and shall be reviewed on a daily basis.”

FWD Life Insurance Philippines also put in place a “COVID-19 special coverage” from March 9 to April 15, under which qualified policyholders may avail of an additional medical benefit worth P100,000 upon diagnosis and within 48 hours after complete claim submission.

“Should death occur due to COVID-19, an additional funeral benefit of P50,000 will be given to the beneficiary,” FWD Insurance president and chief executive Li Hao Zhuang said.

FWD also extended insu­rance premium payment grace periods to 90 days in the case of customers who tested positive for COVID-19 and 60 days for other clients, while accepting all insurance benefit claims even beyond 30 days, it said.

For its part, The Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. (Philippines) Inc. (Manulife Philippines) said it would “honor claims made for the treatment of, or hospitalization due to covered illnesses, including those that may arise from a COVID-19 infection.”

Manulife Philippines president and chief executive Richard Bates added that the insurer had waived its 30-day notification and 90-day requirements submission deadlines for claims related to COVID-19 from March 10 to June 30, as well as extended the payment period by 60 more days for all life insurance policies issued and assumed by Manulife Philippines, Manulife China Bank Life Assurance Corp. and Manulife Financial Plans Inc. pension and education plans with due dates falling between March 16 and April 30.

As for Allianz PNB Life, it said its Allianz Well! health insurance solution “offers full medical treatment, hospitalization and even evacuation to the nearest medical facility to those who have confirmed diagnosis of the disease.”

“With an annual plan limit of up to P100 million, it gives access to an accredited health care network and the option to choose your preferred medical facility. It also covers health screening, vaccination, dental services, physical activity programs and nutrition counseling. Allianz Well! plan holders likewise have access to expert medical advice, with its 24/7 tele-consultation and expert medical opinion service,” Allianz PNB Life said.

“While the COVID-19 is a recently discovered disease, there are health insurance policies that can cover its treatment and a plan holder’s hospitalization. Don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agent about it,” Allianz PNB Life chief marketing officer Gae Martinez said.

The Insurance Commission earlier ordered insurers to fast-track claims related to COVID-19 and make their processes easier for plan holders afflicted by the disease.

Insurance Commissioner Dennis Funa on March 16 issued Circular Letter No. 2020-13, which contained the guidelines aimed at strengthening the claims management policies of insurance and reinsurance firms, mutual benefit associations (MBAs), as well as health maintenance organizations (HMOs) amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, Funa enjoined all insurance and reinsurance companies, MBAs and HMOs to relax and streamline existing procedures and mechanisms in order to facilitate immediate processing and payments of COVID-19-related claims.

Funa also sought relaxation of the notice of claim period, as well as the period to complete claim requirements.

In general, the insurance regulator wanted “enhancement of services that will improve overall claims experience” while the country grapples with the deadly disease, Funa said.