18 Mar, 2020

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update


At Shepherds Friendly we are monitoring the spread of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) closely.

Everyone at Shepherds Friendly would like to send our best wishes to all of our members and intermediary partners. You can help to keep yourself safe by following the updated guidance available from the UK Government regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

In line with this guidance, we have now moved to a remote working pattern. We’ll continue to follow the latest advice from the Government in relation to delaying the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our staff and members safe.

Your client’s Income Protection plan with Shepherds Friendly is designed to pay them a benefit when they are incapacitated by illness and as a result are unable to work. If they are not fit and able to work as a result of physical or mental illness or injury, they may be able to make a claim for benefit.

FAQ’s

We have provided some answers below to commonly asked questions. Please advise your clients to check their policy documents and policy schedule to understand in more detail all the features of their plan.

What waiting periods do you offer?
We currently offer 8, 13, 26 and 52 week waiting (deferred) periods.

Can my client apply for an Income Protection plan if they have been furloughed?
Yes. If your client has been furloughed by their employer, they are still eligible to apply for an Income Protection plan with us.

When can members make a claim?
To make a valid claim, members must be incapacitated by illness or injury and as a result, are unable to work and have suffered a loss of income. We do not pay benefit unless symptoms last longer than the waiting period (please see below). Members can make a claim online by clicking here.

Are your clients covered for self-isolation?
No. Our income protection plan only pays benefits when you are incapacitated by illness or injury and as a result are unable to work. If members are unable to work for any other reason, such as being in isolation, looking after dependents or if their previous job is no longer available, the plan does not provide benefits.

Are my clients covered for a reduction in their income caused by being put on reduced hours, or put on the Furloughed scheme, or the Self-Employment Income Support scheme?
No. Only loss of income caused by incapacity due to injury or illness is covered by the plan. If your income has reduced since you took out the plan, you must tell us.

How do I find out my client’s waiting period?
Members can find their waiting period on their policy schedule, or by using our online tool. If their incapacity does not last longer than their waiting period, they will not be paid any benefits.

Can my client reduce their waiting period?
Unfortunately, due to the ongoing uncertainty around the spread of COVID-19 we are not accepting applications to reduce any waiting periods until further notice.

Do members need a sick note?
Yes. Members need to provide us with medical evidence for each day of their incapacity including throughout their wait period. We will currently allow members to self-certify for the first 7 days of their incapacity. We will also agree to review any medical evidence that your client provides to support their incapacity if they are not able to obtain a GP certificate (for example a hospital admission record).

Will you accept a 111 isolation certificate as evidence of incapacity?
No. The policy does not provide cover if members are unable to work because they are isolating for their own benefit or others and have no symptoms.

Do my clients need to provide evidence of loss of income?
Yes. Members will need to provide evidence of their loss of income and that it has been caused by their incapacity.

My client has become unemployed, but they are now sick, can they make a claim?
In most cases no. Your client’s incapacity needs to have been the cause of them stopping work and losing income. Members need to be engaged in paid employment at the start of their incapacity unless their policy includes house persons benefit. If it does, and your client can prove they have been unable to perform the activities of daily living for longer than their wait period, they may be able to make a claim. Please ask your clients to check their policy terms and schedule.

How do my clients make a claim?
The easiest way to make a claim is to use our online claim form. Alternatively, you or your client can email [email protected] Our claims team is extremely busy at the moment, so please allow up to five working days for a response.

For anyone who has been affected financially by the coronavirus, we’ve put together some useful content highlighting key updates from the Government that are aimed reducing financial loss for individuals at this unprecedented time. You can access that here.

Getting in touch 

Due to COVID-19, our team is currently working from home and experiencing more telephone and postal enquiries than normal.

We know that many of our intermediaries choose to get in touch with us via telephone and post. However, as we have limited access to our head office, we would like to encourage our intermediaries to contact us via email, where possible on:

[email protected] 

You are welcome to contact us via telephone – however, due to the increase in phone queries, you may need to wait longer than usual. For your information, our opening hours can be seen below:

Monday to Thursday: 9am – 5pm
Friday: 9am – 4pm

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your colleagues for your patience and understanding at this time.

Please see the following links for helpful guidance on COVID-19:

WHO – Health Topics – Coronavirus

Gov.uk – Guidance – Covid-19 Information for the Public

 

Last updated 05/05/2020

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