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Liberty Specialty Markets
Liberty Specialty Markets

Insurers outline support measures as lockdown pain continues

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Australia’s major insurers say they have in place a range of support measures, including temporary premium relief plans, for customers who have been financially affected by the latest COVID lockdowns and restrictions.

The support from insurers comes as Victoria announced today the state’s lockdown, which was to have ended tonight, will be extended for another seven days. NSW yesterday introduced tighter restrictions for Greater Sydney that are set to last until July 30, and SA will begin a seven-day lockdown from tonight.

Suncorp says its financial and mental health measures, which were introduced last year as the pandemic broke out, are available for existing home, car and business insurance clients.

Suncorp Insurance, AAMI, Apia and GIO customers who are experiencing financial hardship can apply for flexible premium options and there will be no fees for customers who wish to change premium payments from annual to monthly, the insurer said.

The insurer has dedicated teams on hand to support customers experiencing financial hardship and has set up an “insurance health checks” service to help them save premium through options such as reduced vehicle usage.

“It’s been an incredibly challenging 18 months for all Australians, but we know that many households and businesses will be doing it tough with these latest restrictions in place,” Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston said in a statement.

“Our people are on hand to help, with customer-facing teams trained to identify and support customers experiencing vulnerability and specialist teams available to provide unique support as needed.”

He says since last year, the business has helped more than 85,000 customers who have been impacted by COVID-19.

“While everyone’s situation is unique, we know some short-term relief can go a long way to provide some relief, while ensuring they remain insured,” Mr Johnston said.

QBE says it is supporting its customers and partners through the current lockdown.

A spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au the insurer is providing support for clients experiencing vulnerability, which enables those in financial hardship to seek relief in deferring premium payments or transitioning to monthly instalments.

“In addition to this, we are supporting requests from our commercial and SME customers to maintain cover on unoccupied buildings that have closed due to lockdown and laid up vehicles that are not on the road during this period,” the spokesman said.

“We’re continuing to review our support for customers as these lockdown scenarios evolve and encourage anyone experiencing financial hardship to reach out to us to discuss how we can help.”

A spokesman for Allianz says a range of provisions is in place for customers in need of support during the lockdown.

These provisions include the option for home and motor customers to put their monthly payment on hold for up to 60 days, no cancellation fees and the option for policyholders to defer or pay their excess in instalments if they need to make a claim.

“Allianz understands this is a very difficult time for many Australians impacted by the current lockdowns, and we want to reassure our customers we are by their side if they need us,” the spokesman told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We strongly encourage any customer experiencing financial hardship to call us for a free policy health check to ensure their policy still meets their needs, our dedicated support teams will also help to see if any reductions can be made in order to reduce their premium.”

IAG last week reaffirmed its committment to a range of customer support measures.