18 Mar, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
With more and more of the UK’s businesses opening their doors every day, it would appear that the world is starting to feel a lot more familiar again.
As part of our commitment to keeping you and your clients informed, we have provided some answers below to commonly asked Income Protection questions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
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 4, 8, 13, 26 and 52-week waiting (deferred) periods
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.
Can my client apply for an Income Protection plan if they have been furloughed?
No. Unfortunately, if your client has been furloughed by their employer, they are not eligible to apply for an Income Protection plan with us.
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 currently experiencing more enquiries than usual, so please allow up to five working days for a response.
Getting in Touch
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:
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 a moment to say thank you to you and your colleagues. Your support and understanding at this time are truly appreciated.
For any additional information help and guidance in relation to COVID-19, please see the links below:
Last updated: 17/07/2020