For a financial professional who sells life insurance, disability insurance, and related products and services, such as critical illness insurance, the natural reaction to client questions about what’s happening now might be to lie in bed with a cup of warm tea and a teddy bear.
But many life insurers, insurance distributors and others are resisting the inclination to self isolate from the news. They’re preparing guides to what’s happening, updating their websites and social media streams, calling and emailing clients, and organizing webinars and online chats to help guide clients through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the COVID-19-related disruptions in the economy.
Here are examples of seven life and health community efforts to answer questions about products other than major medical insurance.
One sign of how rapidly everything is changing is differences in how everyone refers to The Virus. Some call the virus by its formal name, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Some refer to the name of the disease the virus causes, COVID-19. Many simply refer to “the coronavirus.”
1. “Does life insurance cover coronavirus?”
Many organizations have posted answers to this question.
Here’s how Life Ant, an online life insurance quote service, answers the question:
Luckily, if you already have an insurance policy in place, it will still cover you if you pass away from complications related to the coronavirus. This is true even if you have traveled to a coronavirus-inflicted area. This is because insurance companies can’t change policies that are already in place.
2. “Should you get life insurance during a pandemic?”
Here’s an example of a question with answers that are mutating hourly.
When many life organizations posted answers about this question, or similar questions, they assumed that this was a question of interest mainly to people traveling to the city of Wuhan, in China. Not to people who live, work and travel to places like Seattle and New York.
Policygenius, an insurance sales site, notes, for example, that life insurers might postpone application approval if an applicant has traveled to China within the last 30 days or has future plans to travel outside the United States.
Here’s a portion of the Policygenius answer that relates to applicants who may have been exposed to COVID-19 pneumonia anywhere, not just in China:
Some life insurance companies may postpone your application if you have a member of your household who has recently returned from travel outside the U.S. or if you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive some life insurance companies may postpone your application if you have a member of your household who has recently returned from travel outside the U.S. or if positive for COVID-19. You may also be required to provide a statement of good health for a new or pending life insurance application.
How each life insurance company will treat your application if you happen to contract the coronavirus will also vary. Insurers may reject your application or postpone your offer until you have made a full recovery.
3. “Will my coverage end if I can’t afford to pay my premiums?”
This is an example of a short, simple question that could be hard to answer. Some states are asking insurers, or requiring insurers, to provide extra grace periods for non-payment of premiums.
Some insurers are announcing extra grace period provisions or offers of flexibility of their own.
Here’s how Haven Life Insurance Agency, an affiliate of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, is answering this question:
We are here to support our customers during this time of uncertainty and financial hardship. Customers who are concerned about maintaining their monthly premiums should contact our customer success team for accommodations.