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    COVID-19 update and FAQs

    Publish Date:

    The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a situation we’re monitoring very carefully.

    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.

    How are Unum's operations and services being affected?

    We have very detailed business continuity plans which we review continuously in light of the developing situation.

    Our top priority is to continue serving our customers while caring for our people and we’re confident in our ability to do this.

    We’ve identified critical system needs for our business and have plans in place to ensure they will remain operational during this pandemic. We also have enhanced technology infrastructure and well-established business continuity plans for home working.

    We’ll continue supporting the individual and family responsibilities our employees are likely to have during this pandemic while still meeting the needs of our customers.

    What's the best way to use Unum's Help@hand virtual GP and support services (available to GIP policyholders)?

    While users of the Help@hand remote GP service shouldn’t use this service if their primary concern is coronavirus infection, the remote GP is a very valuable service for non-coronavirus related medical issues. This may become an even more important resource as access to the NHS GP service is increasingly impacted by coronavirus cases.

    Anyone concerned over coronavirus infection should follow advice from the NHS website:

    Group Life policies

    Group Income Protection policies (GIP)

    Group Critical Illness policies (GCI)

    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

    Group Income Protection, Group Life and Group Critical Illness

    Flex and Voluntary Benefits

    Can an employee who has been placed on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) continue to be covered under a flex or voluntary arrangement?

    Yes, as long as premiums continue to be paid.

    • How much can an employer claim under the CJRS?

    It is our understanding that an employer can claim a grant to cover:

    • 80% of employees’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
    • Employer National Insurance contributions that are paid on the furlough pay.
    • Employer pension contributions of up to 3% of the furlough pay, as long as the whole amount is paid to a pension scheme for the employee as an employer contribution.

    The reference salary for making a claim under the CJRS should not include:

    • The cost of non-monetary benefits provided to employees (e.g. benefits in kind).
    • Benefits provided through salary sacrifice schemes (including pension contributions).

    Employers can choose to top up an employee’s salary.

    • What are employers’ obligations to pass on the grant under furlough rules?

    All the grant received to cover an employee’s furlough pay must be paid to the employee (after the deduction of tax and NI) in the form of money.

    • How does that impact Unum flex and voluntary policies?

    If the employer topped up the salary e.g. from 80% to 100%, deductions to cover flex contributions could be made from the top up amount as long as the full 80% CJRS grant is passed on to the employee as salary.

    Employers who do not top up salaries could fund the flex benefits.

    Where flex benefits are funded through a ‘flex pot’, employers can continue to provide ‘flex pots’ in addition to the furlough salaries, to fund flex benefits.

    • How are employers responding?

    We have taken professional advice from a leading accountancy firm and their experience is that employers are continuing to fund flex benefits in the ways highlighted above for the following reasons:

    • They have taken the view that having adequate protection cover in place is even more important for employees at this time.
    • Ease of administration in continuing benefits.
    • Making changes to flex platforms can be time consuming and are likely to involve additional costs for the employer.

    The above is based on our understanding of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and does not provide definitive legal or tax advice. Policyholders and individuals should seek independent tax and legal advice to ensure they understand the impact of the legislation.

    Executive Income Protection

    There are no general exclusions under our current Executive Income Protection policy.

    However, as part of the medical underwriting process, we may have identified that we cannot provide cover for certain medical conditions or certain circumstances. Please check policy documents to see if any such exclusions apply to a particular policy.

    Our current standard Executive Income Protection policy terms do not include a requirement to follow FCO guidance for business travel.

    For an Executive Income Protection claim to be valid, it must meet the terms of the policy which includes the insured life meeting the definition of incapacity and having been unable to work due to illness or injury for the whole of the deferred period.

    Sick Pay Insurance (SPI)

    New business

    To ensure we can continue to best serve our existing customers during the coronavirus pandemic, we have taken the decision to stop offering deferred period options of 1 to 3 weeks for all new SPI policies with immediate effect. This means that we will currently only offer SPI with a 4-week deferred period.

    This decision does not impact new business quotes which are within the quote guarantee period, existing SPI policies or our other products, including Group Income Protection.

    We will continue to monitor the situation and review our business plans on an ongoing basis.

    Existing customers

    For existing SPI policies, we will pay claims where a person has received medical advice to self-isolate due to the coronavirus and cannot work from home.

    Claims will be paid for a maximum of 14 days following satisfactory completion of the deferred period according to our policy terms and conditions. This only applies in relation to the coronavirus.

    Medical evidence to support the claim will be required if self-isolation goes beyond 14 days.


    Our Dental team is still available for any queries you may have. Please call us on 020 7265 7111 and we will be happy to help.

    All Unum products

    Group Risk Claims

    For Group Risk Claims and medical underwriting questions please click here.


    If you are unsure who your contact is, you can also get in touch with us via


    Corona virus update.