How Covid-19 is Impacting Voluntary Benefit Carrier Claims
During the pandemic most of the voluntary benefit carriers have done a good job of communicating support to payroll accounts and policyholders. They have gone out of their way to give grace periods for premium payments and otherwise done the right thing by their customers.
Recently I wrote an article on how voluntary benefit plans work with a Covid-19 diagnosis, so I was wondering how the carriers themselves are faring these days. Are they seeing a lot of claims? Are the claims coinciding with spikes in the virus? An email from Unum showed up in my inbox to shed some light on the subject.
There's a Pattern
Unum has been tracking both Short Term Disability claims and leave requests from their clients across the country. What they've seen is a trend of increased claims following a period of decreasing infection numbers. Their interpretation is that as infection numbers fell in some parts of the country, people then reopened their businesses and went back to work and Covid-related claims then pretty quickly started to go back up.
Claims on disability plans have followed the larger trends of Covid-19 infection around the country.
They have also seen a sharp increase in claims since early June. I'm guessing this will continue, as the impact of summer holidays and hasty reopening around the country continues to become clear.
Maybe these trends seem obvious, since we're all infectious disease experts now. But for me it's an interesting look into a company I do business with. Unum and other voluntary benefit carriers are essentially my suppliers, so I want to know what they're experiencing and whether it's going to impact my business.
Luckily, getting a claim paid by a VB carrier has not ever been like trying to get toilet paper in March. There have been some hiccups with the carriers to be sure, mostly from the disruption of moving much of their staff to remote work in the early days of the pandemic. But otherwise, the carriers seems to be in good shape and my client support team has not had any major complaints about getting claims support during a pandemic.