Exclusion for COVID-19 added for all those applying for income protection after 14 March 2020
British Friendly has confirmed that it will honour all claims made by existing members as a result of being diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and it will also consider claims for those who have symptoms and self-isolating but not a diagnosis.
However the mutual has added an exclusion for coronavirus for anyone applying for income protection (IP) from 14 March onwards.
"This difficult decision was taken after very careful assessment of the situation," said British Friendly. "Our priority must be to protect our existing members by ensuring our society remains financially robust. We are committed to keeping this decision under review."
It added that all those already in its pipeline that applied before 14 March will have terms issued in line with the terms and conditions in place at the time they applied, which means no exclusion for COVID-19 will be applied.
The mutual has also temporarily relaxed its career break (payment holiday) rules for existing members to help those who may find it difficult to pay premiums during this time, reducing the qualifying period from one year to one month's premium paid. However, this does mean they will be unable to claim while on a career break.
Gordon Hull, British Friendly's CEO said: "Our priority is to protect our members and we can confirm that our existing members will be covered in the event of a coronavirus diagnosis. In addition to this, we can also confirm that this will apply to all applicants in our pipeline prior to 14 March 2020.
"In addition, we will consider claims for those who have symptoms and are self-isolating but have not received a diagnosis yet.
He added: "For new applicants we will be applying a coronavirus exclusion for anyone applying from 14 March 2020 onwards. This difficult decision was taken after very careful assessment of the situation. Our priority must be to protect our existing members by ensuring our Society remains financially robust. We are committed to keeping this decision under review.
"One of our guiding principles is to ‘do the right thing' and whilst we've had to make a difficult decision regarding future applicants, we have taken these steps to ensure the sustainability of the Society in order to protect our members."
British Friendly said its virtual GP service, part of its Mutual Benefits programme, remains available however its provider Square Health is steered those with coronavirus-related enquiries towards NHS 111.
Yesterday we reported that The Exeter, Cirencester Friendly and Shepherds Friendly have also added exclusions for COVID-19 and the Holloway Friendly announced it is excluding it for new IP policies with a one-week deferred period from Friday.
The Income Protection Task Force (IPTF) described the decision to add an exclusion for coronavirus as 'understandable'.
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