Frontline workers looking to purchase life insurance can be assured they won’t be excluded from coverage due to potential or actual exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted interim authorisation to the Financial Services Council (FSC) and its members to work together in a way that means exposure to COVID-19 can’t be used as a reason to decline life insurance coverage to a frontline health worker.
Similarly, they cannot charge higher premiums or apply risk exclusions to any new policy.
According to the consumer watchdog, the commitment applies to workers, including, but not limited to, doctors, nurses and all hospital workers; ambulance workers and paramedics; people working at GP surgeries or clinics; people working on COVD-19 vaccines; pharmacists; police; aged care workers and volunteers supporting people with COVID-19.
ACCC chair Rod Sims has acknowledged it as “a stressful time for everyone, but especially those working at the frontline of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
“It’s sadly understandable that such workers may consider life insurance coverage at this time.”
He strongly encourages everyone looking to purchase life insurance to first check the cover they may have under existing policies and through their superannuation fund.
“We see a clear public interest in allowing FSC members to work together to provide a consistent, clear and fair approach to people performing critical work during this pandemic,” Mr Sims said.
“The authorisation does not include co-ordination on pricing, meaning customers should still shop around,” he did concede.