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COVID-19 update re. furloughed employees

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tidal wave of disruption and uncertainty across the globe. But while many sectors have temporarily shut down, a few core sectors, like insurance, remain open for business. However, the complexities surrounding group risk and life insurance has caused a great deal of concern and confusion, particularly around furloughed employees, that is, those who are still in employment but have been temporarily set aside due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

At IHC, we’ve seen a surge in enquiries from clients who are understandably concerned about the implications for their corporate health insurance policies, so we’ve outlined the main points HR managers will need to know.

Can I still get in contact with my insurance provider during COVID-19?

Yes. The insurance sector continues to operate as normal despite the majority of staff now working remotely. For example, 6,000 AXA staff out of a 9,000-strong workforce are working from home while the rest are still office-based. Please contact them through the usual channels.

IHC have also received business continuity statements from all our suppliers, so business is still continuing as normal.

Are furloughed workers still covered by life insurance and group risk policies?

Yes. Despite non-pay status, full cover will continue for furloughed employees who remain on payroll and retain a UK contract of employment. All our insurers have confirmed with us that all employees are covered under this clause at this present time.

Is COVID-19 covered by critical illness policy?

No. Despite the potential severity of the virus, the majority of individuals who develop COVID-19 ultimately make a full recovery and do not experience long-term health issues nor require long periods away from work.

What should I do if I have any concerns over our company policy due to COVID-19?

Talk to us! Many of us are now working remotely but we are available and happy to talk to clients who have any questions or concerns. So if you have any specific questions about your policy or if your business circumstances have changed, please get in touch – we may be able to negotiate individual deals on your behalf.

If the majority of staff are working remotely, is our data still safe?

At IHC, we already have robust and secure systems in place and we regularly monitor this to ensure our records continue to comply with the strictest data confidentiality policies.

Paul Roberts, Senior Consultant says: “If you are thinking of changing your policy, continue to talk to us. IHC has good connections with insurers and will negotiate terms for you as a priority. Our insurers have all confirmed they have essential workers and will continue to pay claims and support their customers.”

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