BT Life Insurance and Coronavirus – Frequently asked questions

BT is proud to participate in the Financial Services Council's COVID-19 industry commitments to support Frontline Healthcare Workers and TPD claimants.

Does BT’s life insurance policy cover me for COVID-19?

If you have a BT Protection Plans or BT Super for Life insurance policy, there are no exclusions for pandemics. This means that if you took out a policy before you contract the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and also meet the terms of your policy, you are covered. Income protection, business expenses, living (trauma), total and permanent disability (TPD) and death policies may all provide cover, depending on your circumstances.

New policies and changes to existing cover are subject to our current underwriting rules and assessed based on our criteria at the time. As the situation is always changing, we are monitoring the impact of the virus closely and may need to change our underwriting approach accordingly, if required.

The following should be noted:

  • Total and Permanent Disability, Income Protection and business expense policies cover you if you’re unable to work due to sickness or injury in line with the terms and conditions of the policy, including any waiting period.
  • Trauma (“Living”) policies cover you for defined events, however, COVID-19 is not a defined sickness under the Trauma policy. Severe cases could be covered under other defined sicknesses, such as intensive care requiring continuous mechanical ventilation for 10 days.
  • Accidental Death policies do not cover you for COVID-19.

Does BT’s income protection policy cover me if I need to self-isolate?

An income protection policy will cover you if you’re unable to work due to sickness or injury in line with the terms and conditions of the policy, and depending upon the waiting period selected. The policy does not pay benefits for self-isolation.

Does BT’s income protection policy cover me if my business shuts down due to COVID-19?

The income protection policy will cover you if you’re unable to work due to sickness or injury in line with the terms and conditions of the policy and depending upon the waiting period selected. The policy does not pay benefits if your business closes down due to COVID-19.

For Westpac Group customers, a COVID-19 Customer Help Package is available to provide assistance if you have been impacted by this crisis. More information can be found on westpac.com.au.

Does BT’s income protection policy cover me if I’m told I cannot go to work due to a shutdown as a result of COVID-19?

Income protection policies provide coverage if you are unable to work due to sickness or injury in line with the terms and conditions of the policy and depending upon the waiting period selected. The policy does not pay benefits if you’re told you cannot go to work as your workplace has shut down.  

For Westpac Group customers, a COVID-19 Customer Help Package has just been announced to provide assistance if you have been impacted by this crisis. More information can be found on westpac.com.au.

Can I increase my level of insurance cover or apply for a new policy?

Yes. BT’s assessment criteria and underwriting principles apply for any increase or top-up applications.

In view of the unique circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the impacts of associated restrictions, and following the advice of our Chief Medical Officer, we are required to address the issues associated with COVID-19 and these are taken into consideration during our underwriting process.

Applications are assessed on an individual basis, and some aspects include:

  • If you are not resident in Australia or intend to travel outside Australia in the short term you may not be offered new or increased cover; 
  • Some limitations to cover may apply for customers in higher risk groups, however, personal circumstances will be considered;
  • Known or possible exposure to COVID-19; 
  • Other individual risk factors; and 
  • Potential occupational and financial impacts.

These guidelines:

  • Apply to all new applications, increases or top-ups in cover, and amendments such as reduced waiting periods; any application currently in suspense waiting for outstanding requirements; and applications for reinstatement. 
  • Do not impact any existing policy(ies) unless cover is increased, as indicated.  

In support of the FSC industry agreement, we have confirmed that we will not apply exclusions or deny claims related to COVID-19 under existing cover frontline workers hold with us, including medical professionals and police.

For new applications, and increases or changes to existing cover, by relevant healthcare workers, exposure or potential exposure to novel coronavirus will not of itself be used to automatically result in modified underwriting terms.

We are closely monitoring developments and our underwriting approach may change at any time to respond to the rapidly changing situation. We’ll keep you updated.

I have tested positive for COVID-19 and I need to make a claim

Please get into contact with our claims team on 1300 553 764, who are ready to assist. Our usual processes still apply. Let us know if you need any additional support because of these circumstances.

Will there be any changes to the way in which you manage claims in light of the pandemic?

Our Claims Philosophy will remain unchanged and we will continue to pay claims in line with our philosophy.

BT is proud to participate in the Financial Services Council’s (FSC) COVID-19 Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) Initiative. The period covered by the initiative is from 11 March 2020 to 27 September 2020.

The FSC’s voluntary initiative ensures that if people are adversely affected by lost working hours and/or income due to COVID-19 this will not affect their eligibility for TPD cover if they make a claim.

If you meet the criteria set out in the FSC’s initiative, BT will assess your eligibility to claim and any applicable TPD definition based on your working arrangements as at 11 March 2020. Claims will also continue to be considered under the normal terms of the policy.

We aim to maintain continuity of care during this time participating in our health support programs. We can continue to deliver support to clients through tele-health services with no face-to-face interaction, minimising risks while enabling them to continue to receive the exercise, health coaching and counselling support needed during their recovery, and regardless of location.

How is BT responding to COVID-19 impacts?

As a business, we continue to monitor the developing situation and review updated guidance from reputable sources including our own independent medical advice. Our priority is to keep our people, business partners and customers as safe as possible whilst maintaining business operations.  

Measures we have introduced include:

  • Team members working remotely, to enable them to continue to support business critical functions.
  • Reviewing priorities of tasks to focus on the most important functions such as helping our operational teams support you.
  • Clear protocols for our people regarding health and safety, including broad self-isolation directives to minimise the spread of any health concerns, adhering to social distancing recommendations, and additional cleaning for corporate sites.

What happens if BT’s offices are shut down?

BT has robust business continuity plans in place which are tested regularly, so we are prepared for unexpected events and disruptions to business. We also have developed a response to the additional challenges of operating in the current environment where so many of our customers, suppliers, and business partners are also impacted.

You can be assured we are working to maintain operations and be available to support you during this time, however we appreciate your understanding with potential impacts on our service levels and response times as we also focus on the health and wellbeing of our people and business partners.

What if I’m facing hardship and struggling to pay my premium?

We understand you may be experiencing significant economic impacts and facing hardship from COVID-19. While your life insurance policies do not cover business slow-down and closure, we want to work with you to help maintain your cover where possible. Our team are available to discuss individual situations and the options available to you to provide relief, on a case-by-case basis.

For Westpac Group customers, a COVID-19 Customer Help Package is available to provide assistance if you have been impacted by this crisis. More information can be found on westpac.com.au.

Thank you for your continued support.

 

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This material has been prepared as general advice only and is current as at 22 April 2020. This information does not take into account your personal circumstances. It must not be copied, used, reproduced or otherwise distributed or circulated to any other party. This information is not intended to be the only source of readers’ knowledge and should be read together with the relevant Product Disclosure Statement.

The Insurer of BT Protection Plans and BT Super for Life is Westpac Life Insurance Services Limited (WLISL) ABN 31 003 149 157, except for Term Life as Superannuation and Income Protection as Superannuation which from 1 May are issued by BT Funds Management Limited ABN 63 002 916 458 ('BTFM') as trustee of the Retirement Wrap ABN39 827 542 991. Prior to 1 May 2020 Term Life as Superannuation and Income Protection as Superannuation are issued by Westpac Securities Administration Limited (WSAL) ABN 77 000 049 472, AFSL Number 233731 as trustee of the Westpac MasterTrust ABN 81 236 903 448. WLISL, BTFM and WSAL are wholly owned subsidiaries of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 (the Bank). The Bank does not guarantee the insurance. This information is general advice only and is not to be attributed to any member of the Westpac Group. Terms and conditions, and limitations and exclusions apply. This information is not intended to be the only source of readers’ knowledge and should be read together with the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see if this insurance is right for you. The PDS explains conditions, terms, limits and exclusions and is available by visiting bt.com.au. 

This material has been prepared for BT clients only and is current as at 22 April 2020. It must not be copied, used, reproduced or otherwise distributed or circulated to any other party.

©Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714