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Coronavirus and Protection

Updated 24/09/2020

At LV=, we’re taking all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people and support for policyholders and advisers is our top priority by following the latest government advice. We’re doing everything we can to support you and your clients through these unprecedented and fast moving times. This may mean we have to make rapid changes to our product and service propositions and processes.

You should be able to find answers to your general LV= protection questions on this page. We’ll be regularly updating this page and our FAQs with all the latest information and significant developments for financial advisers.

17/06/2020

We’ve extended our phone line hours

We understand it’s been a challenging time for you and your clients. Like you, we’ve experienced our own challenges as we have moved to a working-from-home model and dealt with increased call numbers. To help focus our support for the most vulnerable, we temporarily reduced our phone line opening hours. We’d like to thank you for your patience during this time.

As we continue our transition into the new normal, we are doing everything we can to return to our standard service levels so we can support you and your clients as best we can. We’ve now phased some of our people back into a safe office environment and we’re pleased to let you know we’ve been able to extend our phone line hours.

We appreciate your continued support in using our COVID update page as a first point of reference.


04/06/2020

Face-to-face medical screenings have resumed

From Thursday 4 June, our partner Square Health will be resuming face-to-face nurse and doctor medical examinations for LV=.

Our expert underwriters will continue to review all new personal and business protection cases and assess whether an examination is necessary. If an examination is needed we’ll consider whether this can be done virtually or face-to-face. If a face-to-face examination is required it will take place at your client’s home or an appropriate assessment centre.

Square Health has additional COVID-19 policies and protocols in place to ensure your clients safety is their priority. These include staff training on the latest guidelines, with regular updates, and COVID-19 risk assessments for your clients before arranging an appointment.

Square Health will conduct examinations outdoors in private gardens where possible, supply personal protective equipment (PPE), use disposable and single-use equipment as well as increase the frequency of disinfecting their equipment. They’re also looking for innovative ways to reduce face-to-face time with your client.

For cases where a face-to-face examination is not appropriate, Square Health will continue to provide the virtual screenings they introduced in March 2020 (term insurance only).


03/06/2020

LV= publishes dedicated Protection Pays report on COVID-19

As of 16th May we had processed over £3.6m in coronavirus-related income protection and death claims. In our latest Protection Pays we provide a breakdown of our claims experience, our approach to claims and underwriting and the support we've offered our members during the pandemic.

Read more about Protection Pays.


29/05/2020

Premium and cover reduction

We recently announced that we’d be offering your clients the option to reduce their monthly premium by decreasing their cover amount. When we launched this, your client could only reduce their cover by up to 75%. We’re now pleased to announce that we’ve removed this limit.

This means your client can reduce their monthly premium by decreasing their cover by an unlimited amount for a period of 6 months. We'll then automatically increase the amount of cover back to the original amount without the need for further underwriting. This however is still subject to minimum premium levels, which means the reduced amount of cover cannot be below the minimum premium of £5 or under the minimum amount of cover where applicable (whichever premium is higher will apply).

This option is available across all our personal and business protection policies (excluding Pension Term, Sick Pay Insurance and Quick Cover).


21/05/2020

Premium and cover reduction

At LV= we recognise that we’re in a period of unprecedented change and this is affecting everyone differently. That’s why we want to do all we can to provide your clients with options to support them through this time and help them keep their valuable cover in place.

We already offer a variety of support for your clients through built in product features, cover options and the recent introduction of the payment break for our most vulnerable customers.

We’ll now also be offering your clients the option to reduce their monthly premium by decreasing their cover amount by up to 75% for a period of 6 months. We'll then automatically increase the amount of cover back to the original amount without the need for further underwriting. This is subject to minimum premium levels which means, the reduced amount of cover cannot below the minimum premium of £5 or under the minimum amount of cover where applicable (whichever premium is higher will apply).

This option will be introduced across all our personal and business protection products (excluding Pension Term, Sick Pay Insurance and Quick Cover) because wherever possible, we want to support you and our members in keeping their valuable long term protection policy in place.

Should your client wish to find out more about support they may be entitled to from LV=, please ask them to contact us directly, our specially trained people will talk with them to understand their individual situation and guide them through the options available.

Your clients can contact us:

  • By phone: on 0800 678 1906. We’re open from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Please bear with us, our call wait times may be longer than usual.
  • By email: to [email protected]. We’ll aim to reply and make contact as soon as we can, and within 48 hours.

18/05/2020

How we’re supporting your clients’ mental health

At LV= we understand that the coronavirus lockdown will have an impact on your clients’ mental health. Reports have suggested that almost a quarter of people are feeling lonely(1), over half of adults say their wellbeing has been affected(2) and the average anxiety ratings have risen(3).

That’s why this Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to remind you of all the services available through LV= to support your clients’ mental health.

Mental health support and treatment through LV= Doctor Services

Through the LV= Doctors Services app your client can get remote emotional and behavioural support from qualified therapists, who are trained to offer counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other mental health treatments.

LV= Doctor Services

Speak to a qualified counsellor through our Member Care Line

With the LV= Member Care Line, your client and their family can speak to a qualified counsellor whenever they need to for in-the-moment support about anything they’re worried about. This could include relationship difficulties, emotional problems, bereavement, family problems and stress or anxiety. We also have a dedicated support line for 16-23 year-olds to provide tailored and valuable support during this time.

Our Member Care Line

Rehab Support Services available with Income Protection and Personal Sick Pay

Being out of work for a long period due to sickness or injury can have an impact on your client’s mental health, or mental health might be the reason they can’t work in the first place. We work with your clients to support their recovery through tailored treatment such as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or vocational therapy to best prepare them for when they can return to work.

Income Protection features

Support for your clients and their family affected by cancer

If your client has had a cancer diagnosis, it will always be an extremely hard time for them. At the moment it will be more frightening than ever and they may feel overwhelmed, isolated and stressed. That’s why we’re working with Maggie’s to support your clients emotionally and practically. Although Maggie’s can’t see anyone in their centres just now, they’re supporting people by telephone and email. Your clients can also join their online community which gives them a safe space to talk with others and access tools to support them through this difficult time.

Why we’re working with Maggie’s

Developing our approach to mental health underwriting questions

We know that 1 in 4 adults will experience a mental health problem each year(4). That’s why we’re working with mental health experts and customers to ensure we present questions that make it easy for them to disclose their personal experience of mental health and importantly how they cope with their conditions.

If you would like to learn more about how our support services can help your clients with their mental health during the coronavirus lockdown, please contact your LV= Account Manager.

  1. 1. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk, sample size = 2221 UK adults aged 18+. Fieldwork = 2nd - 3rd April 2020. Methodology = online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
  2. 2.https://www.ons.gov.uk indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey covering the period 27 March 2020 to 6 April 2020 to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.
  3. 3. https://www.theguardian.com- 4th May 2020
  4. 4. https://www.mind.org.uk

05/05/2020

We’ve paid £2.5m for nearly 300 coronavirus claims

As a long-standing protection provider we’re focused on supporting our members and their families during this challenging time. We’ve paid over £2.5 million in coronavirus-related income protection and death claims to almost 300 individuals and families (as of the 30th April). Just as importantly, we’ve made sure we’re here to provide emotional and practical support to help our members through this period.

Up to 30 April 2020, we’ve paid out 146 coronavirus-related claims to customers with Personal Sick Pay policies who have a short waiting period. All of these claims were assessed through our personalised tele-claims service, with payments in the policyholder’s bank account within two days. We’ve also supported members’ families and dependants following 150 coronavirus-related death claims.


04/05/2020

As we continue to monitor this ever changing situation we’ve taken the decision to adjust our question set on Fastway, our online quote and apply system to ask if your client’s job and earnings have been affected by coronavirus.

If they’re applying for Income Protection or Personal Sick Pay they’ll have to tell us if they’ve been furloughed, made redundant or are self-employed and intend to claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

If they have been affected by Coronavirus, our Fastway system will seek some more information and then refer your client’s application to one of our expert underwriters. We’ll review their individual circumstances, on a case by case basis and offer a decision, continuing our fair and pragmatic approach to writing business at this time.


22/04/2020

Options, services and support for your clients who are existing LV= policyholders, including our ‘payment break’.

As a mutual, we’re owned by our members, and we’re continuously working hard to provide support to them and their families, particularly those who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.

We understand that some of your clients may be facing new and more severe difficulties at this time. So we’re providing and extending our emotional, practical and financial services - to help your clients who find themselves in exceptionally challenging situations.

We continue to provide practical and emotional support through LV= Doctor Services (including remote GP which is now available 24/7), Member Care Line, working with Maggie’s, Care Navigator and LV= Business Care Line.

We also understand that your clients may be facing financial challenges due to COVID-19. That’s why we want to remind you of the flexible cover options available within our protection policies that are there to support your clients during a difficult time. Including, choice to miss usual payments and repay them later, cover amendments, and an unemployment payment holiday (Income Protection only).

If our flexible cover options do not offer your client adequate support and they’re facing an exceptionally challenging time, in some circumstances we may now be able to offer ‘payment break’ financial support outside of our standard policy terms and conditions. This is subject to certain criteria and the individual policyholder’s circumstances.

You can see updated details and criteria about our support options below, under Options, services and support for your clients who are existing LV= policyholders, including our ‘payment break’. You can also read an overview of all the support available in our 'support for members'overview document.


14/04/2020

  • We’re making some changes to our underwriting limits and practices.
  • We’re increasing our non-medical limits by 10%.
  • We’re updating our underwriting stance for some groups that are considered more vulnerable.
  • We’re building on and extending our current practices to get customers covered without delay and help reduce the burden on the NHS.
  • We’re adopting the same principles for all existing pipeline business.
  • We've adjusted our underwriting question set to accommodate Coronavirus.

More information about these change is outlined below in the ‘Underwriting approach for new business’ section.

We’re making some changes to our underwriting limits and practices

We’re doing everything we can to support you, your clients and our members through these unprecedented and fast-moving times. Our principled decision-making and approach to any change aims to be measured, targeted and pragmatic – and, ultimately, fair for all.

As we adapt to changing conditions, we’re making a number of interim changes to our new business underwriting and practices for new business from Tuesday 14 April 2020.

We’re increasing our non-medical limits by 10% - For Income Protection, Personal Sick Pay and Combined Life & Critical Illness cover.

This will help you secure cover for more of your clients, more quickly. And, will increase the ratio of immediate decisions through Fastway, and reduce the need for usual medical evidence screenings and reports.

For term business our non-medical limits remain unchanged. and we’re trialling selective virtual screenings, with our partner Square Health and other remote measures such as finger-prick blood tests.

We’re updating our underwriting stance for some groups that are considered more vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus as a temporary measure. This recognises the difficulties and delays in securing relevant medical evidence as we may not be able to offer terms for some applicants living with chronic conditions just now. They may receive a postpone decision through Fastway, our quote and apply system, or after assessment by our underwriters. We anticipate that less than 8% of all term customers will be affected by this change.

We recognise the demands on GPs and other medical professionals, and support their efforts, particularly as many are increasingly being prioritised towards supporting the front line and at risk themselves. We’re building on and extending our current practices to get customers covered without delay and help reduce the burden on the NHS. The minority of cases where Fastway is unable to offer an immediate decision will now be reviewed individually by our experienced underwriters. They’ll aim to make a decision through their judgment, speaking directly with the client or securing evidence from them - without resorting to screenings or reports.

We’re adopting the same principles for all existing pipeline business. We’re working through these cases as fast as we can, and will be in contact with advisers and their clients to:

  • advise of the outcome
  • suggest reducing cover to within the new medical limits
  • or seek more information.

On 7 April, we adjusted our underwriting question set to accommodate Coronavirus (COVID-19) for all new applications through Fastway. Applicants are now required to let us know if they’ve tested positive for coronavirus, been advised to self-isolate, are currently self-isolating or had symptoms suggestive of coronavirus.

They won't need to tell us about working from home, being in lockdown or living with someone who is medically shielding, or if they’ve been ‘direct contact’ (and not displaying symptoms).

We outline more information about these changes in the ‘Underwriting approach for new business’ section below and in our FAQs.

With effect from Tuesday 07 April 2020:

  • We have updated our application questions through Fastway, our online quote and apply system.
  • Your client will now be required to let us know if they’ve tested positive for coronavirus, been advised to self-isolate, are currently self-isolating or had symptoms suggestive of coronavirus.

Application questions and disclosures

As we continue to monitor this ever changing situation we’ve taken the decision to adjust our question set to accommodate coronavirus (COVID-19) for all new applications through Fastway, our online quote and apply system. These changes will be effective from 7 April 2020.

Your client will now be required to let us know if they’ve tested positive for coronavirus, been advised to self-isolate, are currently self-isolating or had symptoms suggestive of coronavirus. They won't need to tell us about: working from home, being in lockdown or living with someone who is medically shielding.

If a customer discloses they:

  1. have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) - we'll postpone their application for 1 month after their full recovery
  2. are isolating as they’re considered to be at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (COVID-19) - your client will be referred to an underwriter. We would expect them to disclose the underlying health condition that makes them vulnerable and we will underwrite according to current underwriting philosophy for that health condition.
  3. are isolating due to living with someone who has symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) - we’ll postpone their application until 2 weeks after their isolation end.
  4. are suffering symptoms suggestive of Coronavirus (COVID-19) - we’ll postpone their applications for 1 month after their recovery.

With effect from Friday 27 March 2020:

  • We've suspended new business for day 1 and week 1 waiting periods for LV= Personal Sick Pay
  • We'll no longer pay 'self-isolation' claims under LV= Personal Sick Pay

Suspension to new business: day 1 and week 1 waiting periods for LV= Personal Sick Pay

We are temporarily suspending new business for day 1 and week 1 waiting periods on PSP.

We’re one of the last remaining providers offering cover for these periods, and to protect our interests and those of our existing members, we’ve taken the decision to stop accepting new applications from 27 March 2020.

We won’t accept new applications for day/week 1 PSP received from 27 March 2020. We‘ll honour applications in the pipeline and we can accept applications which have been started, but not submitted on Fastway - our quote and apply platform. However, we’re unable to accept any new applications with valid quotes only.


We’ll no longer pay ‘self-isolation’ claims under LV= Personal Sick Pay

As we all follow the additional ‘stay at home’ social distancing measures announced on Monday 23 March 2020, the UK Government has since extended its package of financial support for UK workers to include those who are self-employed.

LV= previously offered support to existing (pre 9 March 2020) PSP policyholders with short waiting periods - who were not ill, but suffering a loss of income where they were following NHS 111 guidance for self-isolation. We did so outside of our normal policy terms and conditions. As the Government has stepped up, we’ve stopped paying all claims for self-isolation from 27 March 2020.

We’ll still pay for confirmed diagnosis or symptoms suggesting Coronavirus (COVID 19), which makes the policyholder too ill to work. We’ll assess and pay their claim in the usual way, reflecting their chosen waiting period and the policy terms and conditions.

We understand that we’re still in uncertain times and the coronavirus pandemic is affecting everyone differently. Many people will need the most up to date information from us about their protection policies, claims and recent applications.

At LV= we’re taking all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people and support for policyholders and advisers is our top priority by following the latest government advice. As we begin our transition back to the new normal, we’re pleased to let you know we’ve been able to extend our phone line hours.

We’ll always keep this page up to date with the latest information. But if you do need to get in touch please contact your account manager or you can email us or call us.

You can also read our FAQ’s and additional support guide for further information.

For new business applications, Fastway - our online quote and apply system - offers point of sale decisions on a high percentage of applications. Login to use our pre-underwriting tool - Use Fastway.

At LV= we offer a clear, fair and pragmatic approach to paying claims and we continue to adopt these principles as we face new claims relating to Coronavirus. We also recognise that we must not put additional pressure on medical professionals to provide medical evidence and reports during these challenging times. Our focus will be on how we can assess and pay claims on a pragmatic basis. We’ll be using customer held evidence or virtual assessment where possible.

Below we provide our claims position regarding Coronavirus for each of our personal and business protection products. With Government and NHS 111 guidance changing rapidly, this may change.

Personal Sick Pay

Confirmed diagnosis or symptoms suggesting Coronavirus (COVID 19)

Where a policyholder has a confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus or symptoms suggestive of Coronavirus which make them too ill to work, we’ll assess and pay their claim in the usual way, reflecting their chosen waiting period and the policy terms and conditions.

Self-isolation:

The UK Government has announced a package of financial support for UK workers as we all follow the additional ‘stay at home’ social distancing measures. Until now LV= has offered support to existing members pre 9th March who were not ill, but suffering a loss of income where they were following NHS 111 guidance for self-isolation. We did so outside of our normal policy terms and conditions.

As the government has now confirmed they’ll be supporting the UK workforce, we’ll stop paying all claims for self-isolation with effect from 27 March 2020.

Income Protection

The minimum waiting period we offer for Income Protection is one month. As the majority of Coronavirus sufferers experience only mild symptoms over a short period of time, we don’t anticipate coronavirus to be a cause of claim for your clients with Income Protection.

We do recognise though that symptoms may be more severe for some of your clients, especially if they have complications or underlying medical conditions. In this instance if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus, or symptoms suggestive of Coronavirus which makes them too ill to work for longer than one month, we’ll assess and pay their claim in the usual way reflecting their chosen waiting period and the policy terms and conditions.

Critical Illness (under Combined Life and Critical Illness Cover)

Coronavirus isn’t a specified condition on our Critical Illness policies as the majority of people who contract it go on to make a full recovery. Though we recognise it may become serious and this could result in other policy criteria being met, for example, severe lung disease or kidney failure. In such cases any claim would be assessed and paid in line with the policy terms and conditions.

Life Insurance (including Relevant Life Cover, Combined Life and Critical Illness, Family Income Assurance, Gift Inter Vivos and Relevant Life Cover)

Sadly, some people die directly or indirectly as a result of contracting Coronavirus. In such circumstances, our Life Insurance policies would pay out. Unfortunately, we do experience a spike in death claims due to flu each winter. This predominantly affects individuals with underlying health conditions. We’re prepared to receive and deal with an increase in such claims due to the Coronavirus.

Total value of COVID-19 claims reaches over £3.6 million

As of 16th May:

  • The total value of COVID-19 related claims has exceeded £3.6 million
  • We've supported over 150 of our policyholders who haven't been able to work through Personal Sick Pay
  • Sadly, we have paid over 260 death claims.

To find out more about our approach to claims and underwriting and how we've supported your clients in the pandemic, read our latest Protection Pays report.

As a mutual, we are owned by our members, and we’re continuously working hard to provide support to them and their families, particularly those who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.

We understand that some of your clients may be facing new and more severe difficulties at this time. So we’re providing and extending our emotional, practical and financial services - to help your clients who find themselves in exceptionally challenging situations and we’re keeping these under constant review.

Wherever possible, we want to support you and our members in keeping their valuable long term protection policy in place.

How we’re supporting your clients in vulnerable circumstances

We recognise that your clients will be facing different individual challenges, so the services we can offer are wide-ranging, providing emotional, practical and financial support for times of need. We also recognise that periods of vulnerability can come and go, which is why we believe it’s essential to signpost the right support at the right time.

We’ll talk with your client to understand their situation, signposting the options and services which might already be available through their existing policy and LV= membership.

As COVID-19 conditions continue to bite, we’re introducing additional ‘payment break’ financial support, this will be funded through our Member Support Fund. This is intended to help those who are most financially vulnerable and is subject to the eligibility principles outlined further below and offered on a case by case basis.

What to do if your client needs help from LV=

Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the support available from LV=, including the eligibility criteria for a ‘payment break’, which we summarise below. We cover some commonly asked questions in our COVID-19 FAQ document too.

These can provide useful guidance for your own conversations with your clients. If you have any further questions, please contact your LV= Account Manager

Should your client wish to find out more about support they may be entitled to from LV=, please ask them to contact us directly – our specially trained people will talk with them to understand their individual situation and guide them through the options available.

Your clients can contact us:

  1. By phone: on 0800 678 1906. We’re open from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Please bear with us, our call wait times may be longer than usual.
  2. By email: to [email protected]. We’ll aim to reply and make contact as soon as we can, and within 48 hours.

If we do offer a payment break, we’ll do so a month at a time and will ask your client to contact us again in a month’s time. We’ll send you an email summarising the outcome of any payment break decision.

Practical and emotional support available to your clients

We recognise that all your clients will be facing different challenges, so the services we can offer are wide-ranging, providing greater emotional and practical support to your clients in their time of need.

We also recognise that periods of vulnerability can come and go, which is why we believe it’s essential to signpost the right support at the right time.

  • LV= Doctor Services - confidential expert medical advice, including remote GP which is now available 24/7, prescription services, second opinion, remote physiotherapy and remote psychological services.
  • Member Care Line - offers free access to nurses for medical advice, trained counsellors for mental health and bereavement support and legal advisers for employment or housing issues.
  • Maggie’s cancer charity - offers emotional and practical support for people living with cancer, their family and friends.
  • Care Navigator - provides specialist support and guidance for those facing the daunting challenge of care needs for themselves or loved ones.
  • LV= Business Care Line - provides free legal, tax and VAT advice for Business Protection policyholders.

We also understand that your clients may be facing financial challenges due to COVID-19. That’s why we want to remind you of the flexible cover options available within our protection policies that are there to support your clients during a difficult time.

  • Choice to miss usual payments and repay them later - If your client misses a monthly payment, we’ll usually give them up to 60 days to pay it (please check your client’s policy conditions for their unpaid premiums grace period).
  • Reduction of monthly premium and amount of cover - Your clients have the option to reduce their monthly premium by decreasing their cover amount for a period of 6 months. We'll then automatically increase the amount of cover back to the original cover amount without the need for further underwriting. If your client decides to keep the lower amount of cover after the 6 months they’ll need to contact us. If they then later decide they wish to increase their cover again, any future increase will be subject to underwriting. This option will only be available to your clients whose policy was in place before 1 March 2020 as clients who took a policy out after this date will have done so based on their financial circumstances during the pandemic. Although your clients can reduce their cover by an unlimited amount, minimum premium levels still apply, which means the reduced amount of cover cannot be below the minimum premium of £5 or under the minimum amount of cover where applicable (whichever premium is higher will apply). This option is available across all our personal and business protection policies (excluding Pension Term, Sick Pay Insurance and Quick Cover).

  • The career break option with our Income Protection and Personal Sick Pay policies allows your client to reduce their cover and increase it back to normal levels within 2 years, without the requirement for additional medical information (please check your client’s policy conditions for availability).
  • An unemployment payment holiday feature is automatically included with Income Protection policies taken out since January 2017. This means your client won't have to pay their premiums for up to 6 months if they become involuntarily unemployed. Through this time, their cover remains in place, in full. The unemployment payment feature is not available under LV= Personal Sick Pay.
  • Simple amendments - we offer simple amendment options to reduce the premium by increasing their waiting period or by changing their full cover to our budget cover (this will reduce the maximum claim payout period).

If our flexible cover options do not offer your client adequate support and they’re facing an exceptionally challenging time, in some circumstances we may be able to offer ‘payment break’ financial support outside of our standard policy terms and conditions.

Payment break option

If your client is facing an exceptionally challenging time that means they’re financially impacted and can’t pay their premiums, we can offer them a ‘payment break’.

This option is for particularly vulnerable customers that need support above and beyond what’s included within their policy and our additional support services. This is subject to certain criteria and the individual policyholder’s circumstances.

To be eligible for the payment break option, the policyholder should have:

  • a policy that’s been in force for 12 months or more
  • a good history of premium payment
  • less than 3 months arrears
  • not already utilised a payment break
  • an individual income less that £50,000
  • suffered a significant drop of 50% or more to their income, or their usual earnings have stopped

We’ll talk with your client to understand their individual circumstances and current income situation. We’ll consider a break if their income has stopped, or dropped significantly - and they aren’t receiving any furlough payments.

We’ll review and offer any payment break on a month by month basis, for up to three months. If we do offer a payment break, we’ll do so a month at a time and will ask your client to contact us again in a month’s time. We’ll send you an email summarising the outcome of any payment break decision. Your client won’t be required to repay any premiums missed during a payment break.

Your client’s cover remains in place, in full during any payment break. If they need to, they’re still able to make a claim in the usual way, in line with the terms and conditions of their policy.

A ‘payment break’ option may also be available for LV= members who are considered ‘vulnerable’. For example, if they’re unable to pay premiums due to mental or chronic physical health issues, or bereavement of a close family member.

If your client has been a member for a year and is experiencing a particularly challenging time they can apply for a financial assistance grant through the Member Support Fund for themselves or a family member.

If you need more information we’re here for you and your clients

The latest on COVID-19 and LV= news: We regularly update our adviser site COVID-19 content with our latest position, latest responses and support for you and your clients.

Overview of the additional support for your clients: a summary of the emotional, practical and financial support available for existing LV= policyholders can be found here.

Missed premium reports: We also offer automated missed premium (EWS) reports – these summarise any missed Direct Debit payments and policy cancellations. We’ve updated our ‘alert’ letters to policyholder letters suggesting they contact you or LV= for help. Both you and your client will be notified of the missed premium, We hope this prevents customers from cancelling their valuable protection policy.

Your LV= account manager: If you haven’t signed up to our missed premium reports already, or have any other COVID-19 related questions or requests, please contact your LV= Account Manager

We remain open for new business across all protection products. However, to maintain fair customer outcomes, protect the interests of our members or to enable key service and support delivery, we may take temporary steps to control new business volumes.

One step we have taken is, to suspend new business applications for day 1 and week 1 waiting periods, under LV= Personal Sick Pay, with effect from 27 March 2020.

Application questions and disclosures

As we continue to monitor this ever changing situation we’ve taken the decision to adjust our question set to accommodate coronavirus (COVID-19) for all new applications through Fastway, our online quote and apply system.

Your client will now be required to let us know if they’ve tested positive for coronavirus, been advised to self-isolate, are currently self-isolating or had symptoms suggestive of coronavirus. They won't need to tell us about: working from home, being in lockdown or living with someone who is medically shielding, or where they’ve been in ‘direct contact’ (and aren’t displaying any symptoms). These changes were effective from 7 April 2020.

If a customer discloses they:

  1. have tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19) - we'll postpone their application for 1 month after their full recovery
  2. are isolating as they’re considered to be at increased risk of severe illness from Coronavirus (COVID-19) - your client will be referred to an underwriter. We would expect them to disclose the underlying health condition that makes them vulnerable and we will underwrite according to current underwriting philosophy for that health condition.
  3. are isolating due to living with someone who has symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) - we’ll postpone their application until 2 weeks after their isolation end.
  4. are suffering symptoms suggestive of Coronavirus (COVID-19) - we’ll postpone their applications for 1 month after their recovery.

We’ll also be asking if your client’s job and earnings have been affected by coronavirus. If they’re applying for Income Protection or Personal Sick Pay they’ll have to tell us if they’ve been furloughed, made redundant or are self-employed and intend to claim a grant through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

If they have been affected by COVID, our Fastway system will seek some more information and then refer your client’s application to one of our expert underwriters. We’ll review their individual circumstances, on a case by case basis and offer a decision, continuing our fair and pragmatic approach to writing business at this time.

We expect applicants to read our application questions in full and answer them honestly.

Increased non-medical limits

From 14 April, we increased our non-medical limits by 10% - for Income Protection, Personal Sick Pay and Combined Life and Critical Illness cover (non-medical limits remain unchanged for term). This applies to both tele-underwriting and paramedical screening limits.

During these challenging times, we understand that your clients may prefer to have some cover without delay rather than experiencing a longer wait whilst medical screenings are in the process of returning.

For new business and pipeline business, we’ve set up a process to contact you to discuss whether you want to amend the amount of cover so that your client’s policy can start straightaway.

Medical evidence

We recognise that GPs and other medical professionals remain in high demand. We support their efforts, particularly as many have been prioritised towards supporting critical care and are at risk themselves. We’re still committed to reducing the burden on the NHS, and where possible we’ll be limiting usual evidence requests.

Face-to-face medical examinations

Our partner Square Health has resumed face-to-face nurse and doctor medical examinations.

Our expert underwriters will continue to review all new personal and business protection cases and assess whether an examination is necessary. If an examination is needed we’ll consider whether this can be done virtually or face-to-face. If a face-to-face examination is required it will take place at your client’s home or at an appropriate assessment centre.

Square Health has additional COVID-19 policies and protocols in place to ensure your clients safety is their priority. These include staff training on the latest guidelines, with regular updates, and COVID-19 risk assessments for your clients before arranging an appointment.

Square Health will conduct examinations outdoors in private gardens where possible, supply personal protective equipment (PPE), use disposable and single-use equipment as well as increase the frequency of disinfecting their equipment. They’re also looking for innovative ways to reduce face-to-face time with your client.

For cases where a face-to-face examination is not appropriate, or the client doesn’t wish to participate in a face-to-face examination, Square Health can continue to provide the virtual screenings they introduced in March 2020 (term insurance only). We’ll also continue to consider alternative options such as reducing the amount of cover to offer some protection without delay.

Virtual screening tests

Where a face-to-face examination is not appropriate, Square Health can offer selective virtual screenings (term insurance only) using remote measures such as finger-prick blood tests. Virtual screenings have limitations so we’ll always try to explore other routes first, such as tele-interviews and information your client already has.

Through virtual screenings, nurses can conduct interviews and check evidence conveniently and safely. This could include checking height, weight and blood pressure readings (when the customer has their own device) and by using self-test kits.

Temporary approach for some customers with some chronic conditions

We’ve updated our underwriting stance for some groups that are considered more vulnerable to the effects of coronavirus as a temporary measure. We recognise the difficulties and delays in securing relevant medical evidence, so we may not be able to offer terms for some people living with chronic conditions just now. They may receive a postpone decision through Fastway, our quote and apply system, or after an assessment by our underwriters. Less than 6% of all term customers will be affected by this change.

For all other health conditions, our approach remains unchanged and you’ll continue to receive underwriting decisions and cover acceptance in the normal way.

Fastway gives you an immediate underwriting decision for over 70% of Life and Life with Critical Illness customers, and over 60% of Income Protection and Personal Sick Pay clients. The minority of cases where Fastway is unable to offer an immediate decision will be reviewed individually by our experienced underwriters. They’ll aim to make a decision through their judgment, speaking directly with your client or securing evidence from them.

This means we may:

  • talk directly with your client to better understand their situation and seek relevant evidence they might have
  • adopt our expert underwriter judgment based on the information available
  • arrange virtual screenings and self-tests through our partner Square Health on a select case-by-case basis (term insurance only)

Once these options have been explored a medical screening can be arranged through Square Health if absolutely necessary.

We continue to look at implementing pragmatic solutions to ensure we can accept as many applications as possible in a timely manner on fair and reasonable terms. During this period we ask for your on-going understanding and patience. If you do have a specific case enquiry and you need the cover on risk urgently then please contact your account manager.

LV= Doctor Services remain unaffected and continue as usual.

How you can help

Please make sure you and your client read the application questions and that your client answers them fully and honestly. If we ask additional follow up questions, please make sure your clients provide as much information as possible and provide us with copies of any hospital or doctors letters where possible.

Also please advise your clients to be available to answer any questions we might have about the disclosures they’ve made. This may help us avoid the need to ask for medical evidence.

Please consider the level of cover being applied for and whether this will trigger any automatic medical evidence requirements, which in the current situation may result in delays.

Through your support, we can continue to make timely underwriting decisions and place business on risk for your clients.

In this section we have summarised the Government support that may be available for your client.

If your client is an employee and is too ill to work due to Coronavirus they may be able to claim statutory sick pay.

It’s recently been extended for those that are self-isolating due to coronavirus (for an official reason, e.g. they’ve been advised to self-isolate by NHS 111 or their doctor). The government have recently confirmed that it’s also payable for those caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

Only those who are employees and usually earn over £118 a week qualify. But people on zero-hour contracts can still get SSP if they meet the conditions. It’s usually paid directly from the employer.

SSP is now payable from day-one of self-isolation (backdated to 13th March 2020), but this is for self-isolation for coronavirus only and not for other reasons. Otherwise, it’s payable from day 4 of sickness onwards.

Government website on statutory sick pay

If your client is not eligible for statutory sick pay, they may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance.

New Style ESA is a contribution based payment and is paid for up to 12 months, provided the person has paid sufficient National Insurance contributions in the last 2 tax years.

This benefit is not means-tested, so it doesn’t matter how much your client has in savings.

It’s recently been extended for those that are self-isolating due to coronavirus (for an official reason, e.g. they’ve been advised to self-isolate by NHS 111 or their doctor), or are caring for a child who has to self-isolate.

Government website on Employment Support Allowance

If your client hasn’t paid sufficient National Insurance contributions to claim New Style ESA they may be able to claim Income Related Employment and Support Allowance as part of Universal Credit, if they’re unable to work and their household savings are below £16,000.

Government website on Universal Credit

When up and running this scheme will allow your client to claim if they’ve lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19). It's a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for 3 months initially.

The amount your client can get will be based on their trading profit averaged over the last 3 tax years. This, of course means if you client made a loss, over this period they wouldn’t qualify.

The scheme will initially be open for 3 months and the one-off lump sum grants won’t be paid until the beginning of June, although they will be backdated to cover March, April and May.

It’s taxable so it will need to be declared on self-assessment tax returns, and they may have to pay tax and NI contributions on it.

It’s only available to the self-employed and partners in traditional partnerships (not LLP’s), and only available if your clients averaged trading income over the last 3 years is less than £50,000.

Guidance on claiming a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

If your client and their employer both agree, your client’s employer might be able to keep your client on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for them to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

If your client was being paid under PAYE (on 19th March 2020) their employer can place them on furlough and claim from the government up to 80% of your client’s usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month plus the employers associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage.

Your client’s employer will need to notify your client they’re placed on furlough and your client will then be paid by their employer and will still have to pay tax and NI in the usual way on the amount they receive from their employer.

Employees that can be claimed for include:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible zero-hours contracts

The scheme also covers employees who were made redundant since 19th March 2020, if they are rehired by their employer.

The government has backed three commercial loan schemes to help firms:

  • Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) - designed for micro and small businesses. This scheme offers loans from £2,000, up to 25% of the business' turnover, with a maximum loan of £50,000.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) - designed for firms with a maximum turnover of up to £45 million. This scheme offers a variety of finance options to a maximum of £5 million.
  • Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CLBILS) - designed for firms with a turnover of more than £45 million. This scheme offers finance options from £50 million to £250 million.

Across the three schemes the government will cover interest payments and lender levies for the first 12 months of the loan however ultimately the borrower remains fully liable for the debt. Up to June 7th nearly £34bn of lending had been issued through the schemes. The average loan size is £30k (BBLS), £200k (CBILS) and £6.4m (CLBILS).

Whilst most of these loans are issued on relatively short terms (max six years) they represent an opportunity for businesses to implement protection strategies to indemnify themselves against the impact of losing an owner or a key employee.

Find further information on the government backed commercial loan schemes on their website:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-the-coronavirus-large-business-interruption-loan-scheme

We’ve added an FAQ document with more information and guidance. We’ll update this regularly with the most common and new questions from advisers and partners.

Contact Us

If you need to get in touch, please email or call us:

New Business

Lines open 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday

Existing business

Lines open 9am - 6pm Monday to Friday

Claims

Lines open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

Underwriting

Lines open 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday

or you can contact your account manager.

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The following webinars are provided by LV= via GoToWebinar.com and will ask for you to input your information before you can view the webinar recordings.

Special adviser briefing - COVID-19 and what it means for income protection

In this webinar we discuss how we’re monitoring and reviewing COVID-19 developments closely, particularly for our members who have Income Protection and Personal Sick Pay policies with us, with short, day one or week one waiting periods.

This webinar was recorded on 20th March 2020 and our approach may have changed since the original recording. For the latest position please see our latest update.

Look back on how we reacted to COVID-19 ahead of lockdown –

Latest position on COVID-19 from LV=

The webinar covers the following four key areas:

  • Making it easier to write new business - including our increased non-medical limits and updated underwriting stance
  • Our approach to progressing pipeline business
  • Support we're providing customers who are in financial hardship due to COVID-19
  • Our approach to claims, and how many COVID-19 claims have been paid

This webinar was recorded on 15th April 2020 and our approach may have changed since the original recording. For the latest position please see our latest update.

Catch up on the webinar today –


COVID-19 and how LV= are supporting existing policyholders

In this webinar we provide you with the latest developments, experience and LV= support which focuses on features, options and services from LV= to support your existing clients.

This webinar was recorded on 23rd April 2020 and our approach may have changed since the original recording. For the latest position please see our latest update.

Understand more by watching the webinar –

FOR UK FINANCIAL ADVISERS ONLY
Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited, registered in England with registration number 12383237. County Gates, Bournemouth, BH1 2NF, UK