Zurich and its subsidiary insurance business OnePath Life will offer bespoke coronavirus vaccination protection in eligible life insurance policies from 1 September to 31 December 2021, in what the companies have dubbed an Australian first.
This will come at no extra cost to customers who are insured across the range of death, income protection and total permanent disability (TPD) policies, including those obtained via a financial adviser, purchased directly via a distribution partner or through an employer-based group insurance scheme, or accessed through their superannuation.
The additional cover means any eligible Zurich or OnePath Life-insured customer who suffers a serious side effect from an approved vaccination before the end of the year would be eligible for a one-off payment up to $50,000 for them or their beneficiary, on top of their standard death or TPD benefit should they die or become permanently disabled because of the vaccine.
Income protection policyholders may also be eligible for payment during their standard waiting period, should they be hospitalised for three days or more.
The offer is in addition to the cover for death or disability from COVID-19 infection which is already covered under the insurer’s policies.
Zurich LiveWell Chief Product and Proposition Officer, Dr Sally Phillips, said this offer would provide peace-of-mind to any Australians weighing up the benefits and risks of having the vaccine, at a time when it’s important for “as many of us as possible” to come forward for vaccination.
“While medical evidence indicates the likelihood of vaccine complications is extremely low, we understand that some people are concerned about the risk of a serious adverse reaction. This initiative is a small way we can reassure our customers and confirm their eligibility for financial support through their Zurich or OnePath life insurance policy in the rare instance they may suffer a serious side effect,” Dr Phillips said.
While Zurich and OnePath are the first insurers to announce additional cover for anyone impacted by a vaccine, the Financial Services Council (FSC) stated in May that taking a COVID-19 vaccine would not invalidate life insurance policies, despite false rumours on social media that had suggested otherwise.
“One of the main reasons why people hold life insurance policies is to provide peace of mind for themselves and their families. The FSC would like to reassure Australians that when they get vaccinated, their life insurance will be there for them, completely unaffected,” FSC CEO Sally Loane said at the time.
“This is a good time for all Australians to take five minutes out of their days to check what life insurance cover you hold.”
Life insurer TAL has previously said it was considering offering premium discounts to customers who had been vaccinated against COVID-19, but has so far not implemented this.
Health insurer Medibank is also offering 1,000 rewards points to fully-vaccinated customers. The points can be put towards gift cards, buying items such as smart watches and getting a premium discount or more back on extras like a remedial massage.
Eligibility criteria for Zurich and OnePath offer
- Customers need to be the insured person under an eligible Zurich or OnePath life insurance policy, including cover for death, income protection or TPD.
- The offer is available from 1 September to 31 December 2021. Eligible customers must have an in-force policy during this period and at the time they are vaccinated.
- Death or disability must occur within 90 days of receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
- Claims must be lodged by 31 December, 2022.
- For income protection, the person must be hospitalised for three days or more.
- The payment would be capped at $50,000 across TPD, IP and death across Zurich or OnePath Life-held policies.
More details can be found on the Zurich website.