What impact will Covid-19 have on my insurance?

Life in New Zealand will resume some sort of normal once we see the end of the August lockdown. Businesses will slowly gear back up albeit apprehensively. What the impact of this 2021 lockdown will have on the economy is yet to be realised. One thing that may’ve crossed your mind over the past few weeks is what will be the lockdown effect on your insurance.

This ever-evolving landscape that we are experiencing with the current pandemic means insurers are always looking at how they can cover people. If you are on an older health insurance policy, it may pay to make sure you have the best protection in place.

Here are some of the possible things you may see happen in the insurance space over the next 12 months due to this lockdown:

More policies coming out that cover mental health issues.

Covid -19 is one of the most traumatic experiences that many New Zealanders have faced in decades. This will have a range of different long-term impacts on people.

In recognition of this, insurance companies will inevitably increase their help with mental health. The cost of psychiatrists, medications, and even occupational therapists are likely to be covered. This will be a change for most insurance providers from the current policies on mental health, but all indicators point to this being a big future health focus for New Zealanders.

Deferred or Suspension options for premiums.

Your financial adviser is able to help you find a way to lower your premiums make sure you’re not paying for things you don’t need or investigate a premium holiday for you.

During last year’s lockdown, many insurers allowed temporary premium suspensions and some insurers have it written in the policy wordings now so it will pay to check.

A reduction in employer-provided insurance.

As businesses look to cut expenses, health insurance may be one of the most likely job perks to be cut. Meaning employees will lose access to the Insurance protection that they have previously relied on. Often you will be given the option to continue the cover if you pay for it. For many people taking on an extra cost at this time may not be an option due to the uncertainty of the situation.

Before you do anything, speak to your financial advisor who may find other ways for you to cut costs rather than losing your current work insurance benefits. Employer provided insurance generally will not have any exclusions applied. So, if you have any pre-existing conditions this may be the best cover you will ever get.

Simpler, scaled down policies.

There might be more of these policies appearing on the market available on digital platforms. However, just because a simpler product is cheaper, you need to be careful that it provides you with adequate insurance cover.

Hospital delays mean claim delays.

We experienced a longer delay for elective surgery after the last lockdown as surgeries were delayed and more beds were reserved for COVID-19 related cases. Last year, it has been revealed the Counties Manukau District Health Board deferred between 1,400 and 1,600 elective Surgeries*.

Some health insurance policies only allow for up to 60-day delay. If your procedure is rescheduled for outside that period, you will have to go through all the trouble of requesting a new approval causing even more delay.

Private health insurance allows you access to doctors and treatments in a more timely fashion so if this is something that is important to you, you may want to consider adding it to your portfolio.

COVID -19 Vaccine and your cover.

Your insurance policies will continue in the same way and not be impacted if you receive a Medsafe approved COVID-19 vaccine.

Insurance acts as a safety net that financially protects you and your family when things go wrong. Now is the perfect time to check that you aren’t underinsured, and you have updated insurance policies that truly reflect your current situation such as house values and your health.

Contact an Apex Adviser if you have any concerns about changes to your circumstances which may impact your Insurance.

1.Stuff Article "Covid—19: Elective Surgery wait lists grow in Auckland Amid Lockdown Cancellations" Stephen Forbes Aug 26 2021


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