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Effect of COVID-19 on Life Insurance Claims

By Shaheen Parween

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With the outbreak of COVID-19 towards the end of last year in China and now becoming a Global Pandemic, it is posing serious challenges to different business sectors. However, it mainly puts a spotlight on insurers who can expect to be overburdened with general inquiries and claims across multiple different lines, whether that be on health, life, or general insurance.

The most crucial question at present is whether a life insurance policy will cover the death of an insurer infected with COVID-19 and what will be the status of a life Insurance cover, if one gets it now.

Life Insurance is basically a contract between the policy holder and the insurance company, whereby the life insurance company agrees to pay a specific sum to the insured individual’s family upon his death.

Life Insurance Policy which has been taken before the outbreak of COVID-19 will not be affected and if a person dies due to COVID-19, the nominees can claim the sum assured by filing an insurance claim.

However, if a person takes a life insurance policy amid COVID-19 Pandemic, the insurer will ensure that the Policy holder is in good health and not infected with COVID-19. If the insurance cover is taken by a person who is not infected with COVID-19, then, the insurance company will be liable to pay the beneficiary after the death of the Policy holder even if the death is caused due to COVID-19.

The Life Insurance Council of India has recently in a press release assured all the policy holders that all life insurance companies will process all COVID-19 related death claims at the earliest.

The Council has also stated that “the clause of Force Majeure‟ will not apply in case of COVID-19 death claims. This step was taken to reassure customers who had reached out to individual life insurance companies seeking clarity on this clause in their contract as well as to dispel rumours to the contrary. All life insurance companies have also communicated to their customers individually in this regard.”

According to the Force Majeure clause in a life Insurance Policy  “In the event of any force majeure or disaster that affects the normal functioning of the company and during the continuance of the force majeure events, all request for servicing the policy including policy related payment shall be kept in abeyance.”

However, according to the press release of Life Insurance Council the doctrine of Force Majeure will not apply to COVID-19 cases.

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