“Is my life insurance coverage any different since the pandemic?”, “Does my Disability Insurance (IDI) cover if I become infected with the COVID 19 virus?” , “If I apply for coverage, how do I protect myself if I need to get an exam?” These are just three of the many questions I am receiving on a regular basis. At Innovative Financial Group-Atlanta, we are a full service independent agency that answers these questions and many others. Today, I want to provide more insight and answers regarding these questions.
Life Insurance and the Pandemic – All carriers have a 2 year contestability period(the first 2 years of a contract becoming active) where they can look into a claim and “contest” it due to reasons such as fraud, omitting information during the underwriting process, etc.. Regarding this pandemic specifically, carriers cannot change or alter the contract or the language once it is active and enforce. If you currently have an existing life insurance contract and are current with premiums and happen to pass due to the virus, the carrier should pay out the claim. If you still have concerns, I would recommend that you call your agent or the carrier directly to specifically ask that question. My bet would be that you hear you are covered.
Disability Insurance and COVID 19 – Although there are several disability coverage options, I will be specifically addressing Individual Disability Insurance (IDI). Most contracts have a waiting period before the benefit will start and then there is the definition of disability for that contract. In general, if you cannot do the material and substantial duties of your occupation, the carrier should approve a claim. So the question is, “Will my contract provide coverage?” Here is a good example to examine – Physician becomes infected and cannot do the material and substantial duties of his/her occupation and will self quarantine. This looks like a textbook claim but the issue is the waiting period is 90-days thus the physician should be back to work before the 90-days is up. Another example is a dentist had to shut down his/her practice due to the pandemic. Because of the pandemic, this would not likely be an approved claim from the carrier because the dentist can do the material and substantial duties of his/her occupation. In either case, I would recommend that you either call your agent or the carrier directly to ask a question and see what guidance you are given. Guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurance company
Insurance and the New Normal – Although we all are experiencing the effect from this pandemic personally as well as professionally, there is some good news to come with this. Probably the biggest change with carriers is “How to deal with the exam for people who are applying for life or disability coverage?” Some carriers are now eliminating that step completely. Also, many carriers are becoming technology friendly with online applications and phone interviews. Just recently one of my clients wanted to add more life insurance coverage. The entire process was done via DocuSign and phone interview. My client didn’t need to see me or have an exam done.
As we come out of this pandemic and into the new normal, I think you will continue to see more and more carriers embracing these changes and looking for newer and more creative ways to help people get the coverage they need without all the steps. If we can be a resource to answer any of these questions, do not hesitate to connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 678-338-4438.
We are all in this together and will come out of it stronger and better. Stay safe, Stay positive and stay healthy!! Would love to hear your story or comments from this article.