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Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Member Update

At Shepherds Friendly we are monitoring the spread of cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) closely. Everyone at Shepherds Friendly would like to send our best wishes to all of our members. You can help to keep yourself safe by following the updated guidance available from the UK Government.

In line with this guidance, we have now moved to a remote working pattern. We’ll continue to follow the latest advice from the Government in relation to delaying the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our staff and members safe.

Getting in touch with us

Due to COVID-19, our team is currently experiencing more telephone and postal enquiries than normal.

We know that many of our members choose to get in touch with us via telephone and post. However, as our team is currently working remotely, we have limited access to our head office and would like to encourage our members to contact us via email, where possible on:

[email protected]

You are welcome to contact us via telephone – however, due to the increase in phone queries from members, you may need to wait longer than usual.

Income protection

Your Income Protection plan with Shepherds Friendly is designed to pay you benefit when you are incapacitated by illness and as a result are unable to work.

If you are not fit and able to work as a result of physical or mental illness or injury you may be able to make a claim for benefit.

When you make a claim, you will need to prove to us that it is your physical or mental illness or injury that is preventing you from being fit and able to work, and not any other reason.

The policy only pays benefit if you are suffering from a physical or mental incapacity. If you are unable to work for any other reason, such as being in isolation, or because your previous job is no longer available, the plan does not provide benefits.

You will need to establish any illness and incapacity to our satisfaction. You are able to self-certify for the first 7 days of your incapacity, but thereafter you must provide us with medical evidence of your incapacity from your doctor or other treating physician.

You may have a wait period on your plan before you can make a claim. If so, you can self-certify for the first 7 days of that wait period, but thereafter you need medical evidence of your incapacity for the rest of the wait period and during the period any benefit is paid.

If you would like to find out your wait period you can do that online by clicking here.

You can make a claim online by clicking here.

Income Protection Policies taken out on or after 19/03/2020

If you take out a policy we will place an exclusion for COVID-19 on the policy which means that you will not be covered for illness related to COVID-19.

Income Protection Policies taken out after 14/03/2020 and before 19/03/2020

If you took out a policy with a waiting period of one week or less, we will place an exclusion for COVID-19 on the policy which means that you will not be covered for illness related to COVID-19.

Can I reduce my wait period?

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing uncertainty around the spread of COVID-19 we are not accepting applications to reduce your wait period until further notice.

Investments

Our investment plans are invested in a fund managed by Royal London Asset Management which holds a diversified range of assets, including UK and overseas equities, commodities, bonds and cash products. The fund seeks a return for our members while managing volatility and downside risk through diversified multi-asset strategies.

We also operate an investment strategy known as ‘smoothing’ which provides further protection for your investment in relation to downside risk. The smoothing process may retain some profit generated by the fund when performance is strong, to compensate for periods of less favourable performance.

At times when market performance is poor, we may have to implement measures to protect all of our members, including applying a Market Value Reduction (MVR). An MVR aims to protect plan holders who have money in our fund, ensuring that they are not disadvantaged. We would only apply an MVR to money that is withdrawn from the fund when market performance is poor. However, this could mean that, if you withdraw money during periods of challenging market conditions, you could receive less than you expected.

If you have any more questions then please get in touch with us at [email protected] or on 0800 526 249.

For more information and advice on the spread of novel coronavirus, use the following links:

https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Last updated 24/03/2020

Please note: All information within our news stories is correct at the time of publication, and we make every effort to keep content accurate. However sometimes information may be out of date. You should not rely on this information when making financial decisions as no financial advice has been given.