Coronavirus: Health - Private Medical Insurance

Aviva have put together some Q+A’s to help People and Business’ who have, or are interested in Health – Private Medical Insurance during the Pandemic

Coronavirus latest

The government has announced that the NHS will cancel all elective and non-emergency procedures in NHS hospitals. Any procedures or consultations for conditions which are not life-threatening, or time-critical, will be cancelled.

The government has also recently announced an agreement between the NHS and private facilities which will see them reallocate much of their national capacity to support the NHS and help to meet the unprecedented demand for clinical care anticipated over the coming weeks and months.

We understand that you’ll be concerned about how this might affect your health insurance policy, and we’ve provided clarification in the Your questions answered section below.

In addition to the continuation of urgent care pathways as outlined above, you’ll be able to access the majority of other services and benefits (subject to your particular policy coverage).

These services include:

  • Physiotherapy through Back2Better- our supplier is operational, and they are setting up additional virtual consultation capability
  • Mental health support through Mental Health Pathway and outpatient mental health treatment – our supplier is operational, and they are setting up additional virtual consultation capability
  • NHS cash benefit – this existing benefit will be available for any customers hospitalised as a result of COVID-19
  • Aviva Digital GP
  • Stress Counselling Helpline
  • Dental & Optical
  • GP minor surgery
  • Baby bonus

Your questions answered:

Policy cover and benefits

What cover is available for testing, screening or treatment for COVID-19?

Given COVID-19 is a public health emergency, it’s appropriate that diagnostics and treatment of COVID-19 are conducted by or at the direction of the NHS.

Testing and screening are therefore not covered under your health insurance policy, and any treatment would only be covered to the extent it’s eligible treatment provided to you as a private patient in a private facility.

In the current circumstances, it’s unlikely that this would be the case and COVID-19 patients would be treated under NHS care, whether at NHS or private facilities. If you have NHS cash benefit on your policy, then this would be payable in line with the policy terms and conditions.

What if COVID-19 exacerbates an underlying condition?

This is a novel virus, but with each passing day, we’re learning more about its potential impact on individuals.

Care for anyone who has underlying conditions which are exacerbated by COVID-19 will be managed in line with policy terms and conditions in the usual way, including subject to the satisfaction of applicable policy underwriting.

In the same way, this means that if COVID-19 impacts a chronic condition, then it wouldn’t be covered under the terms of your policy.

I know that the NHS’s decision to cancel elective, non-emergency and non-time-critical procedures in private hospitals will affect my access to some of the benefits I’m covered for. What can I still claim for?

The terms and conditions of our policies haven’t changed, so your cover will still apply – although under the present circumstances it’ll be harder to get access to certain care.

Would my policy cover me for any treatment abroad?

The terms and conditions of your policy haven’t changed so if you have access to emergency overseas cover, this will remain in place, although under the present circumstances it’ll be harder to get access to certain care.

I’m due to renew my policy. Will the terms remain the same?

At present when you renew, the current terms will still apply. We will monitor the situation and update our position in light of any relevant developments. If you’d like to discuss anything regarding your policy, please contact Aviva on 0800 092 4590. Or Church Side Insurance on 01623 650232

If I’m having care for COVID-19 under the NHS, but at a private hospital, can I still claim NHS Cash Benefit?

Yes, absolutely. If you’re under NHS care, any valid claims for NHS cash benefit will still be paid, no matter whether you’re attending an NHS hospital or a private one.

If I cancel my policy now and take out a new one after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, how might this affect my claims or premium in the future?

If you’re thinking of cancelling your policy, please contact us and we’ll discuss the best solution for you and your future ability to make claims. You can get in touch with Aviva on 0800 092 4590. Or Church Side Insurance on 01623 650232

I want to cancel my policy, how do I do it?

If you’re thinking of cancelling your policy, please contact us and we’ll discuss the best solution for you and your future ability to make claims. You can get in touch with Aviva on 0800 092 4590. Or Church Side Insurance on 01623 650232

Accessing treatment

Will I be able to claim without a GP referral during the current crisis?

The terms and conditions in your policy for claims won’t be changing as a result of the NHS’s new measures, so GP referrals will still be required in most cases.

The easiest way to access a GP referral would be through Aviva Digital GP if you have access to this app. Otherwise, you should contact the NHS via your usual methods.

Remember you don’t need a GP referral for some benefits, including our BacktoBetter service for musculoskeletal conditions and the Mental Health Pathway.

If people suffering from COVID-19 are admitted to private hospitals, will they be admitted as NHS patients?

Yes, that’s right. If you’re admitted to a private hospital under these circumstances, you’ll be under NHS care.

Can I bring my treatment forward if the hospital I’m going to is still accepting patients for my condition?

This is something you’d need to check by contacting your specialist or hospital directly, however, this announcement means that it’s unlikely any specialists or hospitals will be accepting non-critical cases.

I don’t yet have a diagnosis for a condition I’m suffering from. Would I still be covered to have investigations carried out privately?

If your policy terms provide cover for the investigations you need, and you can arrange these privately, then these would be covered as usual. However, under the present circumstances, it’ll be harder to get access to certain care.

I am feeling stressed about this situation can I speak to someone?

Absolutely, if you have a policy with us and are feeling stressed then you can call our Stress Counselling Helpline on 0800 158 3349.  The service is available to policyholders and members aged 16 or over. Or you can contact a GP through Aviva Digital GP, or your local NHS GP.

Current claims

I’m currently receiving care in a private hospital; will you continue to cover me?

The terms and conditions of our policies haven’t changed; however, the availability of private treatment has been restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your treatment is available privately, your cover will still apply.

I have a claim in progress. Will I still be covered?

The terms and conditions of our policies haven’t changed; however, the availability of private treatment has been restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If your treatment is available privately, your cover will still apply.

I have a treatment booked today or this week, should I go?

The best thing to do is to contact your consultant and/or treatment provider who’ll make this decision and determine what happens next.

I have a treatment booked but I am being redirected to a different specialists and/or treatment unit, will I be covered?

Yes, provided the specialist and/or facility is recognised by us. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact us to discuss further.

I have had treatment cancelled – what should I do?

You need to contact your consultant for further advice, there may, of course, be a delay whilst they make the right decisions for all of their patients. If you have a concern about treatment you need that has not yet started, you can contact your consultant, private hospital or your GP for further advice.

Premiums and payments

Do I still need to pay my premiums?

Yes, to make sure there are no gaps in your cover, you do need to continue to pay premiums. If you don’t maintain your premiums in line with the terms and conditions of your policy, you or your insured members may not be covered for any previous condition that you may have claimed for.

I’m having financial difficulties due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I can’t afford to pay my premiums. What should I do?

If you’ve been affected in this way, contact us on 0800 092 4590. Or Church Side Insurance on 01623 650232

I’m concerned that I might become ill and unable to contact you. If this happens and my policy is automatically renewed, can I contact you later to cancel it?

Your policy will be renewed on the due date, but if you do want to cancel it please try to get in touch and we’ll do that for you.

Business health insurance questions

What would happen if my employer cancels my private health insurance? Is there any way to keep my cover?

Yes, you can continue cover by switching to an individual policy and arranging to pay your premiums as an individual. However please note that terms, conditions and levels of cover may be different from those you were used to previously.

You can discuss this further by contacting our Customer Management Team on 0800 092 4590. Or Church Side Insurance on 01623 650232. You will need to ensure you do this within 45 days of your employer’s cancellation to maintain current underwriting.

I’ve found out that I am being made redundant. Can I continue my private medical insurance policy as an individual?

Yes, you can continue cover by switching to an individual policy and arranging to pay your premiums as an individual. However please note that terms, conditions and levels of cover may be different from those you were used to previously.

You can discuss this further by contacting our Customer Management Team on 0800 092 4590. Or Church Side Insurance on 01623 650232. You will need to ensure you do this within 45 days of your employer’s cancellation to maintain current underwriting.

If you have any concerns about the effect of Covid-19 to your health, your Polices or your Business. Please get in touch with us at Church Side Insurance… We will be happy to help where we can


Guide To Insurance When Working From Home

“Does my home insurance cover me to work from home? As more and more people are having to work from home, it’s important to make sure you have the right cover”

Will working from home affect my home insurance?

It shouldn’t, if you’re an office-based worker and need to work from home because of government advice or because you need to self-isolate, your cover should not be affected. The policies that Church Side Insurance provide cover for office equipment like computers and printers – it comes as standard with contents insurance from most Insurers

In most cases there’s no need to get in touch with us to let us know you’re working from home, so you can just concentrate on setting up the perfect working from home space. No commuting, no distractions, and managing your own time – there are lots of positives to working from home. Not to mention the fact that you can be in your comfiest clothes with access to unlimited tea and coffee! check out our previous blog with Top Tips to working from home

If you need to see clients at home, this may alter your home insurance cover as additional people coming to your house could be seen as more of an insurance risk, so your home insurance costs may increase. If you’re not sure, just give us a call.

If you’re not insured with us, you may need to tell your insurer. If you don’t tell them that you work from home and need to make a claim in the future, it may have consequences so it’s always worth checking.

Can I run my business from home?

Over 4.93 million people now class themselves as self-employed and many of them run a business from home.

When your home address is also your registered business address or when you are having to relocate to home because of Covid-19, then your home insurance company will need to know the nature of your business.

They’ll want to know:

  • If you’re just using your home for clerical work
  • Whether you have regular visitors
  • Whether you store goods at home and what they are
  • Whether you hold any specialist tools or equipment

They may then decide to extend your contents cover to include your business stock and equipment, or they could ask you to take out separate cover for these items.

Do I need extra home insurance cover to work from home?

Depending on the nature of your job, you may want to make sure you’re fully covered for accidents that happen as a result of working from home. If this is something you’ve been thinking about, you might consider taking out extra insurance such as extended accidental cover.

Public liability

This covers you if a visitor to your workplace is injured and makes a claim. It can also cover you if you accidentally damage something that belongs to a customer.

Professional indemnity

This covers you if someone complains about the advice or service you have provided. They may sue if the advice you gave them was wrong or cost them money.

Employer’s liability

If you employ anyone, on any basis, even volunteers, you need to have cover in case they injure themselves whilst they’re working for you.

If the nature of your business means your current home insurance provider is not happy to extend covers, don’t worry… We can put together a bespoke commercial insurance package that will tick all the boxes for for your business and make sure you are properly protected.

Get in touch, we will be happy to help.


Top Tips For Working From Home

COVID-19 has led many companies to recommend that employees work from home. For many, remote work is a new reality and one that takes some getting used to. Below are a few tips for working remotely from Google’s Primer team to help you make the most out of the situation.

Whether it’s done by choice or by necessity, working from home has its benefits, like avoiding your daily commute. But it also means it’s up to you to motivate yourself and get as much out of your time as you would in an office setting.

To help, here are four tips to keep yourself accountable, collaborative, and productive as you work from home.

Tip 1: Create “work” triggers for your brain

When you work in an office, the daily routine of getting ready and commuting helps your brain get ready for the day. When you’re working remotely, you can create “start the day” triggers that get your head ready for work in a similar way, like exercising, reading the news, or making coffee.

A workspace may also be key. If you can sit down and be productive anywhere, that’s great. If you need more structure, establishing a designated workspace — whether it’s a separate room, a fully stocked desk, or just a clean part of your kitchen table — can help tell your brain you’re in the place where you do work productively and without distraction.

About distractions: They’re one of the biggest challenges of working remotely. To keep your brain in the right mode, avoid doing nonwork tasks during your work time. For example, schedule a separate time to do laundry instead of tackling it while you’re finishing a work presentation.

Tip 2: Stay motivated with a list

A simple to-do list can do wonders for keeping you both organized, motivated, and productive as you work from home. As you create your list, think about big, long-term goals, like finishing a project, as well as small goals, like completing tasks that lead to that big goal. Checking off those smaller goals lets you know you’re making progress, which gives you positive reinforcement throughout your day. And work feels much more doable when it’s not all one giant task.

Write or type out your list instead of just having it in your head. You won’t have to devote headspace to constantly remembering what you have to do, and the pleasure of crossing tasks off your list can help you stay motivated.

Tip 3: Make a schedule for everything

Remote work requires a schedule much like a typical office job, except you’re the only one holding yourself accountable. That doesn’t mean your entire day has to be work only (it’s actually important to take regular breaks to refresh yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally), just that any nonwork activities also need to be scheduled.

When creating your schedule, take into account the other commitments in your life and find a routine that lets you take care of those as well. If you have a child, build their care into your schedule, like blocking out school pickup and dropoff. If you play sports or volunteer, schedule time to get work done before or after these activities.

Once you’ve set your schedule, make it visible to your coworkers with a shared calendar. This way, they’ll know when you’re free to meet and when you’ve blocked out work and personal times. It’s also a good idea to make sure friends and family understand your schedule and respect it. Set boundaries and expectations by letting them know that working remotely doesn’t mean you’re free all the time.

Tip 4: Create a process for collaboration

Working from home might seem like a solo experience, but it usually still involves interacting with others, whether it’s meeting with your team, getting assignments, making decisions, or giving and receiving feedback. So it’s important to set up methods for collaboration while you work remotely.

While email can be effective for making an official decision or passing on information, people’s inboxes can get clogged up quickly. If you need to ask a quick question or send a fast update to your team, chat apps like Google Hangouts or Slack are a good alternative to email.

Brainstorming or detailed discussions usually require an official meeting. Talking face to face can often help collaboration, so you might consider videoconferencing for these moments. Videoconferencing is also a great way of having regular check-ins with your team. This can help you stay abreast of what others are doing, and also help everyone keep up a rapport that might otherwise go neglected from not sharing a workplace.


Information Of Our Office Closure And Insurance Policies

Information of our Office Closure and Insurance Policies

During the Covid-19 outbreak.  In view of Government Guidelines, Church Side Insurance staff will work from home until further notice.  We will have full access to our computer systems, and all our calls will be diverted to our advisors at home.  We hope this doesn’t cause you any problems, but we feel this is the correct and prudent course of action to take.

Please Call 01623 650232 or Email info@onyx.email and we will be able to renew any policies, quote for new policies, take payments and deal with any of your claims….
Business is very much as usual over the phones and email.

Here at Church Side Insurance, we must ensure that the safety of our staff and customers is paramount when making any decision of this nature and hope that you agree.

Insurance policies and Covid-19

The following information is not intended to scare, but to inform and manage the expectations of business owners during this difficult time

All insurance companies have differing wordings that can also differ across product types.

The vast majority of Insurance Policies, for all industries, WILL NOT cover for the current outbreak.

We are seeing some Insurers wordings completely rule out any cover for ’emerging diseases’, some have a list of covered diseases, but as Covid-19 is a ‘Novel Virus’ it is not on any lists. We have found some polices will cover Business Interruption if a ‘Notifiable Disease’ is present on the premises (and in some cases within 25 miles) but as it is difficult to be tested under the current guide lines, it will also therefor be difficult to prove an individual has contracted the virus and also difficult to prove they were on the insured premises.

If we are able to demonstrate to insurers that a customer does qualify for a claim, we feel it could also be difficult to quantify losses.

Please see the following points taken from a post on the internet, they are not our words and in fact are quite ‘direct and unsympathetic’ but they do put the situation into simple perspective:
Simple Coronavirus Insurance Explanation!

  • Pandemic disease could be classed as an uninsurable risk. If insurers had to charge premiums to cover this risk, you simply could not afford them. They would run into hundreds of thousands of pounds, even millions!
  • Interruption insurance is an extension on a policy covering buildings and contents and only comes into play if the property is damaged by a range of “perils” such as Fire, Storm or Flood. Disease is usually not one of them (Refer 1 above)
  • If you are lucky enough to find a small disease extension on the interruption section of your policy, on an unspecified illness basis, it could in practice only pay for the loss of profit during the one week you need to close to deep clean them. Not your entire year of trading.
  • Liability policies by their very nature cover liabilities, not physical property, so there cannot be an extension to a section that does not exist. (Refer 2 above)
  • Insurers cannot compensate business for a “down turn” in trade, as that is a commercial risk of running a business, regardless of the reason for it.
    Insurers are NOT resourced in any way to pay for population level, pandemic events. Only governments have access to capital at this scale to compensate everyone at once.
  • As we referred to before, this information is not intended to scare, we are simply trying to manage peoples expectations in uncertain times.

There have already been some amazing stories of resilient business owners diversifying and finding new ways to continue trading during the outbreak. Also stories of communities rallying to help local business’ survive…. We are all in this together and we are all here to help where possible.

Please get in touch if you have any questions specific to your policy.

See the two links below for further information on advice for policy holders, issued by Marsh, and also how the government is helping us all in this crisis.

Government Information and Help

Advice for Policyholders

Please note this is an ever changing landscape and all information provided is believed true at the time of writing