Our response to coronavirus
We are living through incredibly challenging times. The team at SunLife are finding it as challenging as everyone else – concerned for our families, for each other, for our customers and for everyone affected by coronavirus.
But we are working hard to continue giving our customers the service they deserve.
We’ve taken a number of steps to ensure our customer service teams have everything they need to continue answering the phones, respond to customer queries and – most importantly – prioritise paying claims as we have always done.
We are getting more customer queries than usual, and many of our staff are now working from home, so please bear with us if you have to wait a little longer than normal for us to answer the phone. And, to make it easier to find the answer you’re looking for, we’ve put together some of the most common questions we’re being asked about coronavirus and your over 50s plan with us:
- Is my policy with SunLife safe?
- Am I covered for coronavirus?
- What do I do if I can’t pay my premiums?
- Do I need more cover?
- What should I do if I can’t get the death certificate for a claim?
1. Is my policy with SunLife safe?
Yes. SunLife’s roots go back over 200 years, we are part of The Phoenix Group (the largest life and pensions consolidator in Europe), so you can rest assured that we will be there for you when you need us most. What’s more, your payout is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
2. Am I covered for coronavirus?
The Guaranteed Over 50 Plan does cover you for coronavirus once you are past the waiting period, known as the moratorium (which is one year for plans bought today). If you die within the moratorium from anything other than an accident, instead of getting the full payout all your premiums are returned.
However, if you bought your over 50s plan before 1st March 2020, we’re waiving the moratorium period for claims arising as a result of coronavirus. So, if you die due to an illness related to coronavirus (and this is recorded on the death certificate), we’ll pay the claim in full – even if you had your plan for less than a year.
If you want to know when you bought your policy, please check your policy documents which shows the date your cover started.
3. What do I do if I can’t pay my premiums?
At the moment, some customers may find it harder to pay their premiums. So, to help, we are extending the normal period of time customers have to make up any missing payments, to 75 days.
That means if you do miss a payment, you have 75 days to catch up on that and any other payments you miss in-between to keep your plan in place. What’s more, if you were to die during that 75-day period, we will still pay the claim, just deducting any missed payments from the payout amount.
We are looking at whether there is more help we can offer our customers who are struggling to pay their premiums because of coronavirus, so please check back here for updates.
4. Do I need more cover?
If you want to check if your cover levels are right for you then please contact us on 0800 904 7674 and we’ll talk you through your choices. You can find our opening times here. Please remember, we can give you information about our plans but cannot give you financial advice.
5. What should I do if I can’t get the death certificate for a claim?
There are already some instances where we don’t need a death certificate. If the policyholder has died, then please follow the claims procedure on the policy documents. These will either tell you to contact us or the funeral director that the policyholder chose as part of their Funeral Benefit Option.
If you can’t find the policy documents, then please call us on 0800 008 6060.
If coronavirus means you can’t get the death certificate, we’d like to do what we can to help. So, we’ll pay any funeral invoice as long as the date of death is shown on the funeral paperwork or in the email containing the funeral invoice (up to the amount of the plan’s payout). Any money left over from the plan’s payout will be paid once we do get the death certificate.
If the funeral has already been paid, we will reimburse the costs (up to the plan’s payout) when you provide us the relevant receipts. If you aren’t using the plans payout towards funeral costs, we won’t be able to pay the claim until we get the death certificate.
SunLife is best known for its over 50s life insurance, which pays out a cash sum when someone dies. That payout is often used to help towards funeral costs. And we talk about that in our advertising. We always have. We have always believed it is important that, as a nation, we talk about these things more – because we have seen the distress and difficulty it can cause when someone dies without any funeral provision in place.
However, in these unprecedented times we are making some changes to our advertising. We want to balance the need to explain the features of SunLife’s plan (as many people are still looking for life insurance) with the sensitivity to realise that talking about life insurance, in the current situation, could cause others distress.
So, we are reducing the amount we advertise. We are also removing our advertising from news channels and from advertising in news commercial breaks wherever possible. And, we are changing some of our advertising messages where we feel necessary to ensure they are appropriate for the times.
Like everyone else, we will continue to monitor the rapidly-changing situation. These are really tough times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by this pandemic, and with the thousands of people around the country working hard to keep things going.
Please stay safe, we wish you all well.
You can also find out what our parent company, The Phoenix Group, is doing on their website.
For more information on our call centre opening times during this period, please click here.