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Cover-More and Zurich announce new mental illness cover in travel insurance policies

July 20, 2017 Insurance No Comments Email Email

Cover-More Group, a specialist, integrated travel insurance and medical assistance provider, today announced new mental illness cover in their travel insurance policies for Australia and New Zealand. The move follows Zurich Australian Insurance Limited (Zurich) becoming Cover-More’s underwriter in Australia and New Zealand on 1 June after Zurich Insurance Group acquired Cover-More in April 2017.

The new mental illness cover is one of a number of changes to policy benefits and policy wording that Cover-More and Zurich have developed to offer Australian and New Zealand travellers greater protection when they head overseas.

Mike_Emmett

Under the new policy, Cover-More has removed the general exclusion for mental illness from all their travel insurance products in Australia and New Zealand. In addition, if a traveller experiences a serious mental health condition for the first time e.g. first onset of anxiety or depression before they travel or while overseas, cover is provided for amendment and cancellation, and medical expenses respectively if their condition is serious enough that they need professional support.

“We also recognise the importance of providing protection for travellers with existing mental illness conditions so we have commenced a comprehensive pilot of cover for existing conditions in the Cover-More direct sales channel in Australia,” Cover-More Group Chief Executive Officer, Mike Emmett, said.

In the pilot, a traveller with an existing mental illness condition, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can apply to Cover-More for cover just like someone with a physical medical condition. The assessment process is straightforward and there will be one of two outcomes depending on the nature and severity of their condition—cover offered with the payment of an additional premium and in some more serious cases, no cover will be able to be provided.

“We are trialling cover for travellers with existing mental illness at this stage because we want to get it right and give people with mental illness a fair deal and effective care.”

Mr Emmett said the new cover for mental illness is a significant step for Cover-More and Zurich in recognising the critical importance of offering specific cover for people with mental health conditions.

“It seemed a natural, and overdue, extension for Cover-More and Zurich to incorporate cover for mental illness into our travel insurance policies and we hope other travel insurance providers follow our lead,” he said.

He said that for some time Cover-More has been offering trauma counselling free-of-charge to customers involved in horrific events overseas, such as the Bastille Day attack in Nice in 2016 and the recent London Bridge terror attacks.

“Trauma counselling sits outside our usual policy benefits. It’s offered because we can offer it and because we care enough to. And this will continue.”

Mr Emmett said the trauma counselling offered to Cover-More customers is by experienced psychologists in Cover-More’s DTC business, one of the leading corporate psychology providers in Australia.

Since 2012, DTC has also delivered beyondblue’s National Workplace Program to more than 67,000 employees in organisations across Australia.

Underwriting partnership with Zurich

The move to offer cover for mental illness has been facilitated by Cover-More’s new underwriting arrangement with Zurich.

Since 1 June 2017, Cover-More travel insurance policies in Australia and New Zealand have been underwritten by Zurich Australian Insurance Limited.

For Zurich this is a business-to-business underwriting arrangement in which Cover-More continues to manage the retailing of travel policies and claims for customers.

“We’re very excited around this underwriting arrangement for our local business, as well as the strengthening of our travel insurance offering in Australia and New Zealand. It allows for further opportunities to explore how Zurich and Cover-More can collaborate and support our local plan to diversify the product and distribution offerings,” Zurich Australia and New Zealand Chief Executive Officer, General Insurance, Rajbir Nanra, said.

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