Very few would have predicted the war the world is fighting today – the battle against sub-microscopic particles that are paralyzing healthcare systems even in the richest of places like New York; the fight against a virus so contagious that our country is on a 21-day lockdown, excepting for essential services. The world has a common enemy that is threatening human lives as a result of disease and economic shutdown.
It is at times such as these that, more than ever, we must adapt quickly, work together and help those in greatest need.
At EthiQal, we have received various letters and phone calls from our policyholders and their professional societies requesting a range of support during this trying period. Many are focused on medico-legal dilemmas arising from the pandemic; some are enquiries regarding potential financial assistance as the healthcare sector has shut down all elective work during the period of lockdown.
To assist our clients, our medico-legal advisors are working around the clock to provide relevant guidance, with a dedicated COVID-19 healthcare specialist allocated to facilitate such support. In this regard, we have already confirmed and shared our commitment that our clients will be covered for the provision of essential non-elective services, irrespective of their usual scope of work, for the two months following 26 March 2020, and which may be extended as required (click here for more information). In terms of consulting local patients on a virtual basis, we can reassure clients that our cover makes provision for remote consultations that will assist with the ongoing provision of care during the pandemic, where appropriate (click here for more information).
To address concerns relating specifically to financial uncertainty, our business leadership is exploring various options together with our reinsurers, understanding that each practice will be facing different challenges during this pandemic. At this stage we can confirm that we will be providing important premium relief to practices that may experience cash flow problems as a result of a reduction in elective clinical work. Doctors are furthermore provided with the option of applying for a premium holiday in the event of prolonged closure of their practices or requesting reduced cover in line with a revised practice model. Specific details will be communicated as soon as processes have been finalised. To further assist our clients, we have also decided to put a freeze on annual premium increases with immediate effect and until further notice. Longer-term premium review will be influenced by the evolution of the pandemic and its associated consequences on our clients and the impact of these on the risk carried by the insurer. It is too early to hypothesize what this may be.
During this time of Business Unusual, the EthiQal team is working hard to remain abreast of national developments to ensure implementation of the most appropriate measures of support to individual practitioners, where indicated, whilst maintaining reliable service levels and protecting the company’s ability to meet its longer-term obligations towards policyholders.
In addition to the premium relief we will be providing, our practitioners are benefiting with regards to our highly competitive premiums which we are committed to sustainably and responsibly maintain into the future.
Deep gratitude is extended to all healthcare workers providing essential services during this national state of disaster. May everyone be protected.
The EthiQal Management Team