COVID-19 – advice for employers. Read now.

COVID-19 – MetLife

Please see MetLife’s website for their latest information on the impact of COVID-19 where you will also find useful information on:

  • Their business continuity plans.
  • The additional services available with your policy, usually free of charge, that may help at this time.
  • Premium options, such as monthly payment or premium deferral.

For answers to some of your FAQs, see below.

Will cover still be in place for employees while working from home, in isolation or in quarantine?

Cover will continue for employees, if they are actively at work but are working from a different location e.g. at home, this does not in itself fail the actively at work definition / requirements.

If they satisfy the AAW definition / requirements, then the requirement is met. In assessing whether a member is actively at work, we would consider whether, in our opinion, the member was mentally and physically capable of working their normal contracted number of hours.

Will cover be based on earnings prior to any reduced pay, reduced hours, no pay, unpaid leave and ‘furlough’ type situations that are starting to develop?

Employees can remain covered under a policy, providing they remain an employee and are included in the membership data whenever it is provided to MetLife.

For Group Life:

  • The period must be no longer than 36 months in duration.
  • Individuals must remain employees of the employer in order to remain covered under a Group Life policy, unless redundancy or early retirement cover applies.
  • The employee must be included in any membership data provided to MetLife, with the appropriate premium being paid for cover.
  • If an employee dies during this period, and the lump sum benefit is based on a multiple of salary, MetLife will use the salary stated in the membership data provided as at the policy commencement date or the last rate guarantee period review date.
  • Where the salary is based on salary as at the date of death, if an employee’s salary has subsequently increased between the later of the policy commencement date and the last rate guarantee period review date, and any COVID-19-related salary reduction, MetLife will use the employee’s salary as of immediately prior to a COVID-19-related salary reduction.
  • Fixed lump sum benefits i.e. those not based on a salary multiple, will not be affected by any change in an employee’s contracted salary, working hours or period of absence, providing they satisfied the eligibility requirements of cover and remained a contracted employee when they died.

For Group Income Protection:

  • The period must be no longer than 12 months in duration and payment of any claim commences at the later of the end of the period and the expiry of the deferred period.
  • Individuals must remain employees of the employer in order to remain covered under a Group Income Protection policy.
  • The employee must be included in any membership data provided to MetLife, with the appropriate premium being paid for cover.
  • If an employee becomes incapacitated due to accident or sickness, and the deferred period is met, MetLife will use the salary stated in the membership data provided as at the policy commencement date or the last rate guarantee period review date. If an employee’s salary has subsequently increased between the later of the policy commencement date and the last rate guarantee period review date, and any COVID-19-related salary reduction, MetLife will use the employee’s salary as of immediately prior to a COVID-19-related salary reduction.

Some employers are mentioning redundancy cover – is this something you would consider introducing as an alteration to terms at the moment? If so, on what basis?

This will be considered on a case by case basis.

With companies potentially facing uncertainty with revenues and maybe the need for Government aid, what are you considering, for example, switches to monthly premiums or reduced deposit premiums or payment holidays during the current policy year?

Each request will be reviewed individually.

Group Life and Group Income Protection – do catastrophe risks apply?

Group Life “one originating event, accident, cause, occurrence or incident or a series of related originating events, accidents, causes, occurrences or incidents, that directly or indirectly results in the deaths of more than 1 insured member, irrespective of the date of those deaths or the period of time or area over which the originating events, accidents, causes, occurrences and incidents took place.”

Group Income Protection “one originating event, accident, cause, occurrence or incident or a series of related originating events, accidents, causes, occurrences or incidents, that directly or indirectly results in the incapacity of more than one insured member, irrespective of the date of the Incapacity or the period of time or area over which the originating events, accidents, causes, occurrences and incidents took place.”

Disclaimer
Each applicable policy of insurance must be reviewed to determine the extent, if any, of coverage for COVID-19. Coverage may vary depending on the jurisdiction and circumstances. For global client programs it is critical to consider all local operations and how policies may or may not include COVID-19 coverage.
The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal and/or other professional advisors. Some of the information in this publication may be compiled by third party sources we consider to be reliable, however we do not guarantee and are not responsible for the accuracy of such information. We assume no duty in contract, tort, or otherwise in connection with this publication and expressly disclaim, to the fullest extent permitted by law, any liability in connection with this publication. Willis Towers Watson offers insurance-related services through its appropriately licensed entities in each jurisdiction in which it operates.
For further support and advice from Willis Towers Watson Health & Benefits contact your Account Manager or the Client Services team:
Email: HBGB.ClientServices@WillisTowersWatson.com

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