Information from our carriers on COVID-19
If an applicant has tested positive for COVID-19, Ameritas has asked that all applications be held until the client has fully recovered and is back to work full-time before submitting an application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coronavirus and Disability Income Insurance
As we face the current developments surrounding the Coronavirus situation, we understand the concern of the American public regarding the extraordinary measures taken to prevent or limit the spread of the virus. While we hope the instructions from our government are short-term, this flyer addresses the common questions we are receiving regarding the virus and disability income insurance policies.
If I test positive for the Coronavirus, would I be considered disabled under the terms of my policy?
Contracting the virus resulting in your inability to work is one of several criteria that needs to be met when considering a disability claim. You must also be unable to work due to a diagnosed sickness for a sufficient length of time to satisfy the elimination/waiting period of the policy. Other criteria include but are not limited to:
- Is the policy definition of disability met?
- Is an attending physician certifying the disabling condition?
- Are you under the appropriate care of a physician for the condition?
Although I have not been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, my employer is closing for an unknown amount of time or I am not working in order to prevent contracting the virus, can I file a disability claim?
A disability is characterized as a diagnosed sickness or injury that prevents you from working. If you’re choosing to not go to work, or you’re not allowed to work under the instructions of your employer or local or federal governments, you would not meet the basic policy requirements of a disability.
I own a business and the services I provide are restricted by local or federal governments, or I’ve been instructed to close for an unknown amount of time. Since my business is greatly reduced/impacted, can I file a disability claim under my Business Overhead Expense policy?
This is a similar scenario to the previous question; a disability is characterized as a diagnosed sickness or injury that prevents you from working. While your business is impacted by the measures to prevent spreading the Coronavirus, the policy requirements of a disability have not been met.
For applicants who have tested positive for COVID-19, we ask that you not take an application until the applicant is fully recovered and back at work full time without restrictions, with proper follow-up with his physician at his expense and discretion.
Assurity’s e-application process keeps your business moving, and helps clients get the coverage they need.
While COVID-19 is causing disruption in our communities, we’re committed to making sure you have the protection and support you need.
More information on Assurity's COVID response can be found here
A simple introduction to Assurity's electronic application process:
If you’ve used e-apps before, or need help with a specific issue, we set up an easy, step-by-step guide:
For applicants who have tested positive for COVID-19, we ask that you not take an application until the applicant is fully recovered and back at work full time without restrictions, with proper follow-up with his physician at his expense and discretion.
In this unprecedented time, we’re here for you. Be reassured we are doing everything needed to be open for business, and our priority right now is to continue providing exceptional service. At this time, we do not anticipate any major service disruptions, and we will do our best to answer the questions that are understandably arising.
As always, claims are evaluated in accordance with the provisions of the policy. We are unable to determine any liability on claims until they are submitted and all facts reviewed. Should you have any questions regarding a possible claim, please contact us to discuss your policy.
We are continuing to actively monitor news and updates from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.* In times of uncertainty, our Company stability proves to be the foundation that allows us to continue to support you—our agents and policyowners.
We know that everyone has a different story, and each situation is unique. If you have questions regarding your specific circumstance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Click here to submit a general contact request.
Toll Free Phone Number: (800) 437-7355
COVID-19 DI Medical Underwriting Update
Option 1 - Paramed Exam & Lab
Examiners are equipped with (PPE) Personal Protection Equipment:
- Examiners are required to wear gloves.
- Examiners are required to wear long sleeves, long pants, closed-toe shoes or scrubs.
- Examiners are required to wear facial protection that protects eyes, nose and mouth.
Option 2 - Previously Completed Exam & Lab
Copies of a paramed exam and lab that were previously completed within the last 6 months.
Option 3 - MD Exam & Lab
Applicant's primary care physician may complete the exam and lab - contact our office for forms and reimbursement options for the exam and lab.
Option 4 - Conditional Binder Subject to Exam & Lab
Upon receipt of a fully completed application, a conditional binder for Accident & Sickness with a full pre-existing condition exclusion can be offered for coverage for up to 60 days. Should underwriting not be completed in that 60-day time period, including but not limited to exam, lab, and medical records, the conditional binder will be canceled flat from inception.
Option 5 - Accident Only Coverage No Exam & Lab
Subject to satisfactory fully completed application.
Life Insurance: ext. 746
Disability Insurance: ext. 752
Worksite Insurance: ext. 751
|Life Insurance: ext. 759||
|Disability Insurance: ext. 758||
|Worksite Insurance: ext. 756|
Life Insurance: ext. 775
|Disability Insurance: ext. 719||
|Worksite Insurance: ext. 782||
Phone: ext. 783
Agent Contracting and Commissions
Phone: ext. 753
Are there any plan or policy limitations that would impact a COVID-19 related claim?
Please know that each claim received will be reviewed consistent with policy terms and applicable insurance law.
Disability Insurance: There are no policy limitations that would apply for COVID-19. MetLife will evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and use claim processes already in place for disability claims.
How is MetLife handling claims relating to COVID-19?
For disability claims reported for disabling flu-like symptoms reported to be due to, or potentially due to, COVID-19, MetLife will conditionally approve 14 calendar days from the date disability commenced pending supporting medical evidence, except where prohibited by law. We will apply any contractual eligibility provisions and are not waiving the EP. MetLife will implement this process beginning on Thursday, March 19, 2020 for both our fully insured and self-insured customers to any pending claim with these circumstances. We anticipate maintaining this process for an initial 30-day period, then reassessing based on how this crisis unfolds.
For FMLA claims, MetLife will use the same claim processes to evaluate a COVID-19 claim as it does for any other sickness or injury (whether the employee’s or a family member). Each claim will be reviewed consistent with federal law.
Would any additional fees be imposed if a significant number of claims were submitted as a result of a pandemic event?
For insured business, rates in effect during the current policy period would not be affected. For self-funded business or for absence administration, the terms of the applicable Administrative Service Agreement will apply.
[updated March 30, 2020; 11:10am EST] Will MetLife be making any changes or having leniency for payments?
During this period of uncertainty, MetLife will make an exception to extend the Grace Period for premium payment to 60 days after the Premium Due Date, for customers with a policy Grace Period less favorable than 60 days. Customers with Grace Periods greater than 60 days will retain the Grace Period in their policy. This policy will be applied for all premiums due 3/1/2020 and forward, until this crisis is deemed over, as well as apply to any premium within the current 30-day grace period. MetLife will continue to monitor the situation and will provide additional guidance as it becomes available. We are also monitoring state specific mandates and will comply with those mandates. As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, MetLife will review this guidance for necessary actions and provide updates where the guidance or process has changed.
Disability & Leave FAQs
For claimants who are quarantined because of exposure to COVID-19 but are not themselves afflicted with the disease, will these claimants be considered disabled?
Claimants are unlikely to satisfy the definition of disability in the applicable plan solely due to being quarantined. If the claimant develops COVID-19 or even some other qualifying sickness while quarantined, and it meets the definition of disability within the policy, benefits would be reviewed for payment.
[updated March 30, 2020; 11:10am EST] For claimants who are quarantined because of exposure to COVID-19 but are not themselves afflicted with the disease, will these claimants qualify for FMLA?
We will review each leave request on a case-by-case basis. However, in order to qualify for FMLA, quarantined employees would need to satisfy the definition of a “serious health condition” or be caring for a child if the school or place of care has closed or childcare provider is unavailable due to a public emergency regarding COVID-19, among the other FMLA eligibility requirements. If the employee is unsure if the claim will be approved, we encourage the claim to be submitted for review. For additional guidance on FML compliance related to COVID-19, please refer to the DOL guidelines at https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic/ffcra-questions.
[updated March 27, 2020; 6:30pm EST] What are the steps MetLife is taking to support inforce Individual Disability Insurance (IDI) policies?
- There are no policy limitations that would apply for COVID-19. MetLife will evaluate each claim in accordance with the terms of the policy and use claim processes already in place for disability claims.
- We will follow the policy provisions and treat each claim on its own merits. IDI policies have elimination periods of 90 or 180 days, which must be satisfied before benefits become payable. The policies provide benefits only for disabilities that result from a sickness or injury.
- Claimants are unlikely to satisfy the definition of total disability in the applicable policy solely due to testing positive or being quarantined. If a claimant develops COVID-19 or some other qualifying sickness while quarantined, and it meets the definition of disability within the policy, benefits would be reviewed for payment.
- MetLife will temporarily extend the Grace Period for premium payment to 60 days after the Premium Due Date. This temporary extension will be applied to all policies with premiums due 3/1/2020 and after, until such time as this crisis is deemed over. MetLife will continue to monitor the situation and will provide additional guidance as it becomes available. We are also monitoring state specific mandates and will comply with those mandates as required.
For all other questions regarding inforce IDI policies, please contact your Account Manager, Account Executive or MetLife representative.
Mutual of Omaha
Important Information Regarding the Underwriting of Pending Applications
As COVID-19 cases increase within the United States and around the world, Mutual of Omaha is issuing the following underwriting guidance on new and pending applications for life and health products, effective immediately:
- If the proposed insured or any member of his or her household has traveled or resided outside of the United States within the past 30 days, the application will be postponed until 30 days following their return.
- If the proposed insured or any member of his or her household has come into close contact with anyone known to the insured to have tested positive for COVID-19, the application will be postponed until 30 days following their exposure.
- In addition, anyone testing positive for the COVID-19 virus or those who have been hospitalized or quarantined for the virus will have their application postponed for a minimum of 90 days.
Check their website for more updates: https://blogs.mutualofomaha.com/express/files/2020/03/4_LifeHealth_UnderwritingOfPendingApps.pdf
Mutual of Omaha will be making the following changes effective immediately for our DI Choice products.
- Actively at Work – The client must be back at work for a minimum of 3 months if the client has been laid off, fired, quit or was forced to close their business.
Mutual of Omaha’s e-Application and email signature method give you the ability to complete applications for your clients, without having to meet face to face.
Below you can find all the information you need to get started with an e-App today.
New to using the e-App? Make sure you check out our training guides.
Increased Simplified Underwriting Amounts for IDI
Effective immediately, we are making the following enhancement to new applications for simplified underwriting guidelines:
- Increasing the amount from $3,000 to $6,000 of monthly benefit
Advantages of Simplified Underwriting:
- Ages 18-45, no labs up to and including $6,000
- Age 46+ blood urine, physical data
- No financial requirements up to and including $6,000 monthly benefit, all benefit periods*
*If requesting the self-employed discount, two-year financial documentation will be required.
Underwriting reserves the right to request additional information if situations are more complex.
With the introduction of the higher simplified limits, we are implementing a minimum Elimination Period of 30 days on our Short-Term Disability product. New applications will not be accepted with an Elimination Period less than 30 days. This change does not impact the Accident Only Disability product.
PRODUCTS AVAILABLE ON E-APP
- Priority Income Protection (Disability Income)
- Critical Advantage (Cancer, Heart Attack & Stroke and Critical Illness)
- Individual LTC
- Priority Income Protection Quick Start Guide
- Individual LTC Quick Start Guide
- Critical Advantage Quick Start Guide
Updated DI, CI and AD Policy Output Procedures
Beginning April 11, 2020, all DI, CI and AD insurance policies with or without delivery requirements will be mailed directly to the policyholder. Your agency and producers will not receive a copy.
- An email will be sent to your office contact at time of policy issue listing any needed delivery requirements. A copy of the delivery requirements will not be attached.
- All delivery requirements will be included in the policy output package.
- Case Monitoring will reflect all outstanding and received delivery requirements.
- Options to send back delivery requirements include:
Americans are reeling from what is taking place in the world. The very contagious and dangerous COVID-19 virus has landed in the U.S. and has spread quickly, far and wide, forcing everyone to practice “social distancing” and now several state governments to require citizens to “shelter in place.” Our daily routines are having to change, but hopefully just for the immediate future. No matter how prepared for this viral pandemic we Americans are or not, none of what is going on out there is comfortable and millions are scared.
But life can’t completely pause for this tragedy, and business must be transacted to at least a semblance of what we are used to – otherwise we ultimately face economic recession or even another depression. This disease, however, has created great roadblocks in business flow and continuation. With regards to life, health and disability insurances, prospective clients are expressing serious concern over being medically examined by unfamiliar sources as well as having paramedical staff entering their homes or places of business at the risk of spreading Coronavirus.
In this time of great uncertainty and fear, Petersen International is able to offer your clients a wonderful, comforting portfolio of “zero contact” insurance products that don’t require any physical exams, blood draws or urine samples. Furthermore, applications and underwriting processing can take place electronically, over email or fax without the need to handle original documents back and forth between parties. Digital processing of these insurance products allows for peace of mind and safety for your clients and for you the advisor.
Regarding disability insurance, our underwriters are willing to offer those who wish not to be examined at this time with own-occupation “accident only” disability coverage with the option to add “sickness” coverage at a later date when the client becomes more comfortable with having a paramedical exam.
On the life/personal accident side, we offer standalone accidental death insurance which requires simply a one-page application, as well as the very popular Failure to Survive series of simplified-issue term insurances (key person, business loan, buy/sell) that also offer non-contact application processing and quick underwriting without any intrusive exams or labs.
Regarding medical insurance offerings, none of the Petersen products require examination including the Bridge Plan for seniors and the Accident Only Major Medical Plan. Our international medical products, the USAway Plan for those living abroad and the International Major Med for non-residents living in the U.S., boast policy application, issuance and delivery through a completely digital online platform.
At this time, we are also suggesting to our clients and advisors the option of electronic delivery of all insurance policies. If customers are wanting physically mailed copies of their policies, we can continue to accommodate that as well.
Petersen International Underwriters is working to make this uncertain period as unobtrusive for your clients and for your businesses as possible. These are trying times for all of us, but we promise to maintain mostly usual business practices and make proper adjustments where needed. Please stay safe, and let us know how we can help.
If an applicant has tested positive, please do not submit an application until the applicant is back to work full time for 30 days AND has had 2 negative tests.
Review the complete list of FAQ’s provided for employer and individual’s use.
IDI Benefit Update information
In effect on August 1st
Higher lab and physical measurement limits
Effective immediately, no physical measurements and labs are needed for applicants ages 18-50 up to the amounts listed below for applications where the written or residence state is either California or New York. These temporary limits are in effect until March 31, 2021:
- Disability Income (DI)—$10,000/month
- Business Overhead Expense—$25,000/month
- Disability Buy-Out and Key Person—$750,000
All other guidelines remain as they were pre-COVID-19.
Additional things to know
- Limits for applications where the applicant is a resident of California or New York return to pre-COVID-19 levels:
- Disability Income: up to $6,000 per month
- Business Overhead Expense and Business Loan Protection rider: up to $10,000 per month
- Disability Buy-Out and Key Person: up to $360,000
- Multi-life cases, ages 51-64, will have pre-COVID-19 limits of $6,000 per month for Disability Income, $10,000 per month for Business Overhead Expense and Business Protection Rider, and $360,000 for Disability Buy-Out and Key Person.
- The new benefit limits do not apply to:
- Income verification limits for Simplified DI
- The Medical Resident Program
There will be a 30-day transition period for business quoted prior to August 1 and where the permanent guidelines are less favorable than the temporary guidelines. To be underwritten based on the temporary guidelines, a case must have an illustration dated prior to August 1 and an application received in the home office by August 31.
Extended grace period ending after June.
Policies with bill dates through June will continue to receive the grace period extension—an additional 60 days beyond what is offered with the policy. The grace period extension will end after June, and policies will revert back to the standard grace period, except as required by state guidelines. Note, those policies granted an extended grace period prior to July 1 will continue to receive the full extended 60-day grace period.
We’ve temporarily relaxed our new business underwriting requirements to purchase the Benefit Update Rider. Effective immediately and through June 30, customers will be able to get the Benefit Update Rider if they purchase at least 50% of eligible coverage. We’re also extending flexibility for clients who have a triennial benefit update for existing policies with an anniversary date between March 11 and August 31.
Clients who lose their rider for any reason other than attaining maximum age during this timeframe will have their rider restored. This includes the following:
- Clients who receive an increase offer and are not able to accept the 50% minimum.
- Clients who do not respond or submit their application.
Clients will receive a notification once the rider has been restored to their policy. Please note that advance benefit update requests will be subject to normal underwriting and contractual guidelines.
Temporary adjustments to individual disability insurance underwriting
- Effective through July 31st, we’ve made several changes.
- Lab and physical measurements are not needed for coverage up to specific amounts.
- Physician statements process with Human API is recommended and has been expanded.
- Tax forms for 2018 will be used if 2019 forms are not available.
- Read the full communication for complete details.
How we’re handling the grace period for your clients
- We’re suspending policy termination by extending the grace period an additional 60 days.
- Premiums due must be received before the end of the grace period to continue coverage.
- Billing statements and pending lapse letters will be updated to communicate with customers.
Doing business online
- Documents can be sent via email. Submit applications and outstanding requirements. And service requests such as EFT and address changes.
- All new Disability Income and DI Retirement Security policies may be electronically delivered. Just indicate your policy delivery preference on the producer report.
- For OE, DBO, KPR, and any policy adjustments, we can email you a copy of the mailed data pages and delivery requirements, also indicated on the producer report.
- E-signatures can be used, as long as they provide an IP audit trail. We recommend DocuSign, and you can reach out to certify your office to submit business with e-signatures.
- Monitor late policy notifications by subscribing to the lapse policy alert. (Login required.)
For applicants who have tested positive for COVID-19, we ask that you not take an application until the applicant is fully recovered and back at work full time without restrictions, with proper follow-up with his physician at his expense and discretion
The Standard is extending their current labs and exams requirements. They won’t require labs or exams for the following applications through Nov. 30, 2020:
NEW (7/24/2020) - COVID-19 Update: Underwriting and Grace Period Changes
NOTE: If you have customers affected by COVID-19, share our IDI FAQ with them.
New Business Temporary Guidelines
We’ll Accept More Applications With No Labs or Exams.
Starting immediately until November 30th 2020, labs or exams are not required for applicants of all ages for:
|Product||Maximum Monthly Benefit|
|Business Overhead ProtectorSM||$25,000|
|Business Equity ProtectorSM||$1,000,000|
We’ll accept applications signed on or before November 30th, 2020, under the new guidelines. Our underwriters are reviewing open cases and will process those that qualify under the new guidelines. Please note, we may also waive labs and exams for applicants seeking higher benefit amounts, depending on medical history and other information available. Please contact your underwriter directly if you have a case you’d like reviewed.
Using Electronic Health Records, We’ll Speed Up Medical Underwriting.
Did you know that we can get electronic health records up to nine days on average sooner than when we use traditional APS? We’ll expand our use of EHR to speed up underwriting. In the few cases that require a special customer authorization, we’ll send the authorization directly to customers via DocuSign for their signatures. You’ll know when this happens because we’ll always bcc the agency.
We’ll Look Beyond 2019 for Proof of Income.
If applicants don’t have 2019 tax returns, we’ll look to 2018 tax returns and other documentation available.
We’ll Help You Get Coverage for Temporarily Furloughed Applicants.
If you have customers with pending applications placed on temporary furloughs, they may still be able to protect their income. With more time to collect delivery requirements, the producer may be able to hold the policy for delivery until the applicant is working again. In all cases, please contact your case manager to discuss the details.