Media release

03 July 2020

Critical illness cover protects customers with life threatening COVID-19 disease

MLC Life Insurance has become one of the first life insurers in Australia to process critical illness claims as a result of COVID-19.

Since the beginning of the pandemic MLC Life Insurance has assessed and paid two critical illness claims for customers who were hospitalised after contracting the virus. Both customers were in intensive care for 30 days and needed the assistance of ventilation in order to survive the disease.

Fortunately, they have now been discharged from hospital and are gradually recovering from the disease and the stress associated with this time away from work and family.

Jane Dorter, Acting Chief Claims Officer, MLC Life Insurance, said, “COVID-19 has re-emphasised the important role life insurers play in protecting Australians and their families in times of crisis. When someone takes out a policy with us, we make a promise for life and to be there for them when they need it most.

“Importantly, both customers had critical illness cover in place to protect them should the most unexpected illness occur. They were able to use their benefit that is payable when a person is in intensive care and requires continuous mechanical ventilation for 10 days. This demonstrates the flexibility and value of critical illness cover: it is more than simply cover for strokes and heart attacks. Customers with these products really can have peace of mind knowing they have a product that provides time for adequate recovery and financial security during uncertain times.”

Critical Illness insurance (also known as trauma cover) gives customers a one-off payment if they suffer a specified critical illness or medical event, such as major cancers, strokes and kidney failure, amongst others. MLC Life Insurance paid more than 700 claims for critical illness in 2019 totalling around $140 million.

MLC Life Insurance is continuing to support customers impacted by COVID-19, outside of paying claims caused by the disease. To date, we have provided premium relief to more than 1,300 customers who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.

MLC Life Insurance has also supported two industry-wide commitments developed by the Financial Services Council to support customers. These include a TPD Claims initiative, which means that until 27 September 2020, for eligible customers, we will assess Total and Permanent (TPD) claims using the disability definition that would have applied to a customer’s employment circumstances as at 11 March 2020, prior to the pandemic. In addition, we have signed a commitment to ensure that frontline healthcare workers are not prevented from obtaining life insurance cover purely through exposure, or potential exposure, to coronavirus.

MLC Life Insurance paid out more than $1.3 billion in claims in 2019, supporting customers during times of ill health.