With millions of workers facing an uncertain future over the coronavirus crisis, insurance companies have taken the opportunity to pull the plug on policies for sickness and unemployment, with leading comparison site Comparethemarket revealing it has been forced to stop offering quotes on these products.
Earlier this week, major UK financial services firms, including Aviva, Direct Line, Churchill, Admiral, LV= and Axa UK, stopped selling travel insurance to new customers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now Comparethemarket says it has had to suspend comparisons on accident, sickness and unemployment products as many insurers have torn up their policies, while others are quickly rewriting their T&Cs to bring in coronavirus exclusions.
Comparethemarket director of insurance Anna McEntee said: “Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, some providers have decided to stop offering insurance or are reviewing the basis on which they will offer it, with the potential for coronavirus related exclusions to be introduced.
“Our priority is to ensure that our customers can be confident that the product they purchase is going to meet their requirements. In order to protect our customers we have therefore decided to temporarily stop offering income protection quotes via our website during this period of uncertainty.
“We will resume income protection comparison as soon as we can be sure that the prices presented will meet the needs and expectations of our customers. We will be informed by government advice and continue to work closely with our insurance partners on this issue. Other life insurance products are not impacted.”
Meanwhile, City regulator the Financial Conduct Authority has deployed teams across its organisation tasked with managing the fallout from the spread of Covid-19.
An FCA spokesperson said: “The FCA is contacting firms across sectors to understand their response to coronavirus, ensuring that they are taking steps to prioritise the welfare of their staff and customers, as well as the functioning of the markets.
“We are in contact with firms to understand their contingency plans and monitoring how these are working. From what we have seen, business continuity plans are generally working well, and we have welcomed steps that firms are taking to show flexibility in their treatment of customers.”
Just not those customers, it seems, facing time off due to sickness or, even worse, the prospect of redundancy.
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