The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has told private medical insurers to communicate “effectively, timely and compassionately” with customers who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
In a note detailing its expectations of insurers during the pandemic, the regulator warned that the private healthcare sector’s support of the NHS is likely to have an impact on customers who have private medical insurance and are currently having, or are due to receive, treatment.
It said most privately insured treatment is likely to fall under non-urgent care and might therefore need to be delayed.
The FCA added that all general insurers – travel, motor and home, and health – are expected “to consider very carefully the needs of their customers and show flexibility in their treatment of them”.
In particular, the regulator wants firms to clearly communicate any policy exclusions that may impact the cover and use of individual policies.
If products are suspended, firms should consider the needs of their customers fairly, especially if they are relying on a renewal for continuity of cover, and ensure they do not sell alternative products that do not meet their demands and needs.
The FCA said brokers have a key role to play in helping consumers understand the impact of coronavirus and search the market for products that meet their needs.
“We encourage brokers to keep abreast of market developments so they can suitably advise their customers,” it stated.