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Partners Life relaxes some Covid rules

Partners Life is relaxing some of the underwriting restrictions introduced as the Covid-19 pandemic hit, to ensure that new clients who don’t pose a risk aren’t deterred from taking cover.

Wednesday, May 27th 2020, 9:45PM

Naomi Ballantyne, Partners Life

The insurer announced before New Zealand went into level four lockdown that it was applying temporary restrictions to disability products.

Disability benefits of any kind would have a mental health exclusion applied through an offer of terms. No new agreed value benefits based on income would be issued, including income covers, mortgage repayment and household expenses benefits. Indemnity loss of earnings income cover would be offered as an alternative.

But in an update, Partners Life said the time had come to consider changing that.

“Many of the restrictions around lifestyle and employment have been alleviated or removed, and the financial and emotional impacts on people’s wellbeing and employment can start to be assessed on an individual basis.

“As such, Partners Life has determined that now is the appropriate time to review its additional temporary underwriting restrictions in order to ensure we are addressing the risks appropriately whilst not turning off new-business from clients who do not pose an increased risk to the business. This means that effective from June 1, 2020, many of the temporary underwriting restrictions applied due to Covid can now be reviewed, and have been alleviated for new business.”

Loss of revenue and variable loss of revenue cover benefits can again be issued, subject to additional underwriting requirements.

For people who were not self-employed, agreed value benefits based on income could be issued once again, including income cover, mortgage repayment cover and household expenses cover.

The automatic Covid-19 mental health exclusion on disability and business risk benefits has been removed.

“This blanket exclusion was an immediate response to the unquantifiable stress and anxiety levels in the face of a pandemic and lockdown restrictions. Now that job security and availability is becoming more known, we can now replace this blanket exclusion with some more targeted, specific underwriting which is detailed below,” Partners Life said.

But it said it was not reviewing other restrictions.

Disability benefits of any kind will still have the occupation class restriction for disabilities first arising while a life assured is unemployed or is on a period of leave without pay.

All new policies issued will still include a six-month stand-down on eligibility for premium holidays and policy suspensions.

New policies issued since March 24 will be reviewed.

Clients who had the automatic mental health exclusion applied will have it automatically replaced with an emergent mental health exclusion which will only ever apply if the life assured is diagnosed and/or treated for a mental health condition within the six months immediately following commencement of the cover. If not, then no mental health exclusion will ever apply.

Non self-employed clients who wish to change from indemnity to agreed value benefits must provide the applicable financial information required to assess a conversion.

Tags: Covid-19 Disability insurance Partners Life Underwriting

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