Aviva is extending the timeframe of its Covid pledge for private medical insurance (PMI) customers in the UK to the end of 2022 and will increase any payment due by 20%.
The insurer added that it now expects to make any final Covid pledge payment in 2023, later than initially planned.
If the payment date is brought forward from 2023 the top-up payment this may be reassessed. The calculation of the pledge will be independently reviewed by a third party.
The pledge, as made in May 2020, states that if PMI claims are lower than planned over the entire period of the pandemic due to the restricted availability of private medical treatment, Aviva promises to return any difference to policyholders.
Explaining its reasoning for the extension, Aviva said that at the time it expected treatment to be delayed rather than cancelled, with the period of lower claims to be broadly offset by a period of higher claims, with the overall affected period expected to be over 2020 and 2021.
It added that it is now extending the timeframe of the pledge until the end of 2022, as the length of the pandemic and numerous subsequent lockdowns has meant that it will take longer than initially expected for claims that would have been made during the pandemic period to come through to them.
Aviva also pointed to the chance of future disruption, such as local lockdowns or reduced access to treatment.
Extending the pledge calculation period, Aviva said, would enable it to get a fuller picture of all the claims that were delayed by the pandemic, so that any payment that may be due to our customers can be accurately assessed.
All consumer and SME PMI customers in the UK who paid for cover over the period 1 March 2020 to 31 March 2021 will be eligible for the pledge even if they no longer hold a policy with Aviva.
Large corporates assessed individually
As previously outlined, the same overall commitment and principles will apply across large corporate PMI clients.
“Due to the more complex nature of our corporate health products each case will be assessed individually,” the insurer said.
Aviva added it is writing to intermediaries and PMI customers to make them aware of this extension and will continue to keep them informed on the pledge and when it expects to make any payments that may be due.
Steve Bridger, MD of Aviva Health, (pictured) said: “We have seen the availability of private treatment begin to return to pre-pandemic levels and all benefits on our PMI policies are available for customers who need to make a claim.
“We’re anticipating that any treatment that has been delayed due to the pandemic can now start to take place and the extension of the timeframe for our assessment of our claims experience takes this into account.
“We remain committed to our Covid pledge and returning any difference in claims costs to our customers.
“Equally we are committed to ensuring that we continue to keep private medical insurance premiums affordable and sustainable for our customers whilst delivering quality healthcare and clinical outcomes.”