COVID-19 update and FAQs

We continue to take into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) across all areas of our business.

Woman working at home

Covid-19 update
How are Unum's operations and services being affected?

Aside from the measures we’re taking to look after our people and customers, these are some of the common questions we’re being asked in relation to our business operations and policies. We have very detailed business continuity plans which we review continuously. Our top priority is to continue serving our customers while caring for our people and we’re confident in our ability to do this.

What's the best way to use Unum's Help@hand virtual GP and support services (available to all insured employees of Group Risk policyholders)?

Help@hand’s1 remote GP service remains available 24/7 for medical queries, including those related to possible COVID-19 infections. This is an important resource as access to NHS GPs has become more difficult due to pressure on primary care.

1 Help@hand is a virtual, value-added benefit service which connects the employees of Unum customers to third party specialists who can help manage their health and wellbeing, and that of their family. Access to the service is facilitated by Unum at no cost to the Unum customer. Unum is not the provider of the service but can withdraw or change the service at any time. The service is entirely separate from any insurance policy provided by Unum and is subject to the terms and conditions of the relevant third-party specialists. There is no additional cost or increase in premium as a result of Unum making this benefit available.

Help@hand is provided by Square Health Limited, registered in England and Wales Number 07054181. Crown House, William Street, Windsor SL4 1AT.


All Unum products

  • We are committed to helping customers as much as we can. If you are experiencing difficulties paying your premiums as a result of the rising cost of living, don’t hesitate to contact us on We’re happy to work with you to see what we can do to help. 

Dental COVID-19

  • Yes. Unum Dental cover now includes the cost of PPE up to a £50 maximum annual limit per insured person. Please ensure that your dentist lists the cost of PPE on your itemised receipt.

  • Unum Dental are here to help process your claims and or answer questions. Your cover is unaffected during this time. 

  • You can access information about your recent claims, policy information and see your live benefits schedule by logging into your portal. To do this, click here and login using Unum Dental username and password (registration is required).

    During this time, if you need to claim, we encourage all reimbursement methods to be via bank transfer. Please enter the bank details you would like your reimbursement to be made into and hit submit. (Incorrect bank details can slow down your reimbursement so please make sure these are correct.)

Group Income Protection, Group Life and Group Critical Illness

  • Under the terms of our current standard policy UK employees (members under a policy) can be based outside of the UK. This is subject to:

    • The member having a contract of employment with a UK resident employer and remain on the UK payroll
    • Premiums continuing to be paid
    • The terms and conditions of the policy being met for these members
    • In normal circumstances these members cannot be based in a country on the UK Governments Financial Crime Red List. This list may change from time to time.
    • If a member is based in a Red Listed country on a temporary basis during the coronavirus pandemic, they must return to the normal working arrangements (as per the risk accepted by us) as soon as reasonably practicable when restrictions are lifted. 

    Premium and claim benefit must continue to be paid from and to a UK bank account.

    We would consider claims in the normal way and subject to us being able to obtain satisfactory medical evidence.

    Details of employees working overseas must be provided at the quote stage and at each rate review.

  • Cover would remain in place in respect of eligible members as long as premiums continue to be paid by the policyholder.

  • Yes.

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ended on 30th September 2021. For employees who were placed on furlough, had their hours reduced or were requested to take a temporary pay cut for a period up to the end of September 2021 we can continue cover at the pre-reduction level as follows:

    • Reduced hours - we are able to provide cover on the basis of the normal contractual hours rather than the reduced hours. This also applies if hours were reduced to zero.
    • Reduced salaries - for employees requested to take a temporary pay cut, we can continue to insure benefits based on their salary immediately prior to such a reduction. This also applies if salary was reduced to zero.
    • Furloughed employees - for employees who were furloughed we can continue to insure benefits based on their salary immediately prior to being placed on furlough salary.

    This is subject to:

    • Premiums continuing to be paid for the full benefit.
    • The employee remaining employed.
    • Our normal terms and conditions.
    • We must continue to receive member data stating employees' pre-reduction salaries and not their reduced levels. Please note that where the salary definition includes bonuses and other fluctuating elements and these have been reduced due to the employee being placed on:
      • Furlough; or
      • Reduced hours; or
      • A reduced salary
    • It is important that the data reflects the cover the employer wants to provide e.g. averaged over the 3 years prior to the reduction or averaged over the period stated in the policy.
    • Benefits cannot be increased during this period other than for salary related increases in line with the employer’s general pay increases.

    The above is:

    • Our default position.
    • Only applies in response to the coronavirus.
    • Can apply for renewals up to 31st January 2022.
    • We must be notified if the employer wishes to take a different approach.
  • In these circumstances, the employee would be regarded as being actively at work as long as they have not received medical advice to refrain from work.

  • For clarity, an employee who is self-isolating or shielding would not be considered actively at work if they have symptoms and have received medical advice to refrain from work.

  • No, there would be no impact on cover as along as the employer continued to pay premiums. The policy terms and conditions would apply.

Group Income Protection policies (GIP)

  • The deferred period would start from the date the member first became unable to work due to illness. We will link periods of absence during the deferred period if they are due to the same or related cause.

    For people who have been identified by the Government as being clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 we can link:

    • Periods of absence due to COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Periods of absence due to the underlying condition which has led to them being placed in one of the above groups.

    For a claim to be paid the definition of incapacity under the policy must be met.

    For clarity receipt of a letter from the NHS informing an individual to self-isolate or shield is not in itself supportive of a claim meeting the terms and conditions of the policy.

  • There is no catastrophe limit under our GIP policies. Our current standard GIP terms do not include a requirement to follow foreign, commonwealth & development office guidance for business travel.  

  • For a GIP claim to be valid, it must meet the terms of the policy. This includes the member meeting the definition of incapacity and having been unable to work due to illness or injury for the whole of the deferred period.

Group Life policies

  • There are no general exclusions under our Group Life policies. All causes of death are covered for eligible members. However, there is a restriction on travelling on business against advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (please see below).

  • The FCDO Travel Advice service uses a traffic light system of:

    • Red: Advise against all travel
    • Amber: Advise against all but essential travel
    • Green: Normal safety precautions.

    Under the terms of our current standard policy, there is a restriction on travelling on business where the FCDO advises against all travel (red zone). Where the FCDO has advised against all travel to an area, our Group Life policies will not cover individuals subsequently travelling to that area on business. We will, however, cover any individuals who travelled on business to an area which was not a red zone when they travelled, but has since become a red zone.

  • A catastrophe means one or a series of originating causes or events which results in more than one death, irrespective of the period of time or area over which they take place.

  • The catastrophe clause could be invoked if the catastrophe provisions under the policy are met. The coronavirus pandemic would be considered as one originating cause.

    However, as the catastrophe limit is usually at least £100 million per policy, it is very unlikely that the limit would be reached. Please check policy documents for the catastrophe limit applying to a particular policy.

Other products
More questions answered

  • There is no catastrophe limit under our GCI policies. Our current standard GCI terms do not include a requirement to follow FCO guidance for business travel. 

    Coronavirus is not specifically covered under our GCI policy, but claims may be considered under other conditions. For a GCI claim to be valid, it must meet the terms of the policy, including:

    • The definition for the condition outlined in the policy being satisfied; and
    • The pre-existing conditions exclusion not applying to the member

Risk assessment
COVID-19 risk assessment

This current risk assessment details the controls we have put in place. We will continue to monitor the situation, along with ongoing government guidance, and update our assessment as required.

Useful resources

COVID-19 risk assessment February 2022
Pandemic face mask

COVID-19 Group Risk Claims and FAQs

Find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on our claims processes.

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