As insurance lawyers, it’s been interesting to see the pandemic exclusion clauses in use during the year. We often read these exclusions in insurance policies but have never had cause to consider their impact on our clients, until now. These clauses, for the most part, have had an effect on business insurance and travel insurance. Fortunately, for people accessing injury and illness insurance through TPD and income protection policies, exclusion clauses have had little impact.
Types of insurance with pandemic exclusion clauses
Business interruption insurance
The Wimbledon Tennis tournament was fortunate this year, having had a business interruption policy with a pandemic insurance clause. This policy paid $226M for the tournament’s cancellation. The policy came at a cost of $3.2M per year, which they had been paying for 17 years before they received any return, but that’s what insurance is for; to cover us when the unexpected occurs
Many businesses have not been as fortunate as Wimbledon. Despite having business interruption insurance during the pandemic and suffering loss because of COVID, their insurers have rejected their claims. In conjunction with Gordon Legal, we are investigating these rejected claims and a potential class action claim on behalf of the many businesses in the same situation.
You can learn more about business interruption insurance in our article “Business interruption insurance claims FAQ”.
As COVID-19 continues to disrupt travel across the world, many people are still pursuing travel insurance claims in relation to forced cancellations.
You can learn more about travel insurance related to COVID-19 in our article “Does travel insurance cover coronavirus”.
Types of insurance that usually do not have pandemic exclusion clauses
TPD and income protection insurance in your Super
For most of us, group insurance attached to our superannuation funds has remained the most important insurance policy we will hold.
Whilst pandemic exclusions are common in travel and business interruption insurance policies, we don’t usually find them in disability (TPD and income protection) or death insurance policies. As a result, claims brought under these types of policies related directly to COVID, are largely unaffected.
Where things can get tricky is where a person may have lost their job because of COVID for reasons other than their direct injury or illness, but where they have been already suffering from existing health issues and are unable to return to work due to illness or injury. Most of these people were still able to claim disability benefits through their disability insurance policies (ie, total and permanent disablement (“TPD”) or income protection policies).
So, if you have become unwell with COVID-19, suffered mental health issues associated with the lockdown(s) or have lost your job via a redundancy or termination due to the pandemic, you should consider lodging income protection or TPD claims; or at least investigate your rights to do so.
There is unlikely to be any pandemic exclusion on your policies and, if your doctors support that you had underlying health issues when you stopped working, you could have reasonable prospects of winning your claim.
If any of the above applies to you, or if you don’t know if it does, give us a call for free advice on what insurance cover you have and how best to make a claim. We act for people against insurance companies on a no win, no fee basis.
You can contact us directly by phone or email. It costs you nothing to find out what your rights and entitlements are.
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