The following information is provided as a general reference to assist you in answering the most common questions regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) and specific products. It is not intended to be all-inclusive, but it is designed to provide general information on the most frequently asked questions.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has quickly spread globally. Increased headlines and social media posts about growing COVID-19 infections have many credit unions concerned about their ability to continue critical operations while ensuring employee/member safety. Credit union leadership should remain committed to emergency preparedness and business continuity planning. A pandemic crisis can create confusion and potential panic among employees and even leadership.
For the latest information about symptoms, prevention, treatment and other facts, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, the World Health Organization (WHO) website, local, state, and federal governments.
Last updated: Thursday, March 26, 2020
IMPORTANT: COVID-19 is an illness and thus COVID-19 cases will be handled just like any other illness. All claims will be reviewed and decisioned according to the provisions in the member’s credit insurance certificate and/or debt protection contract.
Could COVID-19 result in Payment Protection claims?
- Credit Insurance and Debt Protection protect members. Therefore, COVID-19 could result in claims.
- GAP and MRC protect collateral, not individuals. Therefore, COVID-19 will not have any impact on either product. (Information on GAP skip payments further below.)
Is COVID-19 protected by Credit Insurance and Debt Protection?
- We always encourage the credit union to submit a claim in the event that they receive notice of a loss.
- COVID-19 cases would be handled as any other illness under the provisions of the product. A member is not eligible for benefits simply because they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- We would review each circumstance and certificate/contract to determine eligibility for benefits.
- A member may be eligible for benefits under the certificate/contract if they have suffered a loss (i.e. total disability, death, hospitalization, etc.) as a result of COVID-19, and all terms and conditions of the contract are met.
- A quarantine by itself is not a protected life event. Eligibility for benefits would be based on the loss and the terms and conditions of the specific contract.
- The 14 or 30 day waiting or elimination period contained in Disability and Involuntary Unemployment certificates/contracts will apply when determining benefits for filed claims.
COVID-19 has been classified as a pandemic, does this affect Credit Insurance or Debt Protection?
Pandemics are not excluded by either Credit Insurance or Debt Protection. COVID-19 is an illness and thus COVID-19 cases will be handled just like any other illness. All claims will be reviewed and decisioned according to the provisions in the member’s credit insurance certificate and/or debt protection contract.
Does Debt Protection Involuntary Unemployment protect a shut down?
- All claims will be reviewed and decisioned according to the provisions in the member’s debt protection contract.
- Generally, members who meet the definition of involuntarily unemployment in the contract because they are out of work due to an unpaid shut down may be eligible for payment cancellation.
- Members that are involuntarily unemployed due to a temporary shutdown caused by the coronavirus and have an expectation to return to work will not be required to be actively seeking employment or be receiving state unemployment benefits.
- We always encourage the credit union to submit a claim in the event that they receive notice of a loss.
- Affected members will be required to provide proof of unpaid employer shut down related to the pandemic.
- Members who are out of work due to paid shut down will not be eligible for cancellation.
What applicable protections may exist under Credit Insurance and Debt Protection for COVID-19?
- Life Protection – Credit Insurance and Debt Protection
- A member dies as a result of COVID-19.
- Disability Protection – Credit Insurance and Debt Protection
- A member meets the definition of disability as written in their certificate/contract including being under the care of a physician and is disabled and unable to work for at least the waiting or elimination period of the certificate/contract, due to COVID-19.
- Hospitalization Protection – Debt Protection Life Plus
- A member is hospitalized for 48 hours or longer due to COVID-19.
- Family Medical Leave Protection – Debt Protection Life Plus
- A member takes an unpaid leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days, with written approval from their employer, to care for a family member as defined by the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
- Involuntary Unemployment – Debt Protection
- See above question regarding shut down.
What if my credit union decides to allow skip payments or delayed payments on a loan protected by Credit Insurance or Debt Protection?
- Neither Credit Insurance nor Debt Protection terminate automatically unless a loan is considered delinquent. If a credit union decides to allow skipped or delayed payments and they do not deem the loan delinquent, neither protection would cease.
- In the event of delayed payments, Credit Insurance or Debt Protection charges would continue to be added to the outstanding loan balance.
Can my credit union increase the allowable skip-a-pays for their GAP program?
- GAP claims will continue to adjudicate the allowable number of skipped payments (skip-a-pays) which are set at the credit union program level. If the allowable number of skipped payments are exceeded prior to a total loss, the GAP benefit will be reduced only for skipped payments above and beyond the allowable limit.
- If a program change to increase the allowable skip-a-pays is made, it would only apply to NEW waivers issued after the change.
- Virtually all of the GAP programs offered through our company include two or more allowable skipped payments during the life of a loan.
- If you are unaware of how many skipped payments your credit union’s program currently includes, reference the GAP Waiver or GAP Product Sheet.
GAP Plus’s benefit requires financing a new loan within 120 days after total loss settlement. Can the time limit be extended to accommodate members who are unable to buy a new vehicle due to COVID-19?
Members who are eligible for a Plus benefit that expires between March 1st and June 1st will have eligibility extended until August 31st to provide relief from COVID-19 restrictions.
Are members eligible to elect Credit Insurance or Debt Protection in the event they are not working due to the pandemic?
- Most Credit Disability, Debt Protection Disability, and Debt Protection Involuntary Unemployment plans have actively at work requirements. If members are not working due to quarantine or temporary shutdown and are expecting to return to work, they are eligible to elect the protection. If a member is not working due to permanent shut down or unemployment, they are not eligible to elect the protection.
- Short term, low limit, low monthly payment, deferred initial payment loans are generally eligible for payment protection.
- Exclusionary periods (e.g. pre-existing, suicide, etc.) and vesting periods (e.g. six- months for Debt Protection Involuntary Unemployment) will still apply to all loans, including those with short terms. As always when offering payment protection products, make sure your members are aware of these exclusionary and vesting periods so that they are able to choose products that best fit their situation.
Where can my credit union go to get information on claims filing and processes?
The Lending Resource Center has a wealth of information regarding claims and administration available for each of our products. Claims process overviews, filing instructions and FAQs can be found in the links below. Please note that the links require access to the Lending Resource Center inside My Services.
Should my credit union and their members expect a difference in claims service due to the pandemic?
- Our claims service center is fully operational, however during this pandemic, we may experience higher than normal call volumes.
- Customers may opt to self-service via our online channels; Claims Online for credit union customers (CUNA Mutual Group My Services login required) and My Claims Portal for credit union members (will need claim number and date of birth).
- As the situation unfolds, we are monitoring call volumes and staffing appropriately. We will make modifications as needed to ensure ample support to serve customers.
- We have updated our claims service center hours from 7-6 CST to 7-5 CST. This temporary update was made so ensure we can provide the best service possible during our core business hours.
- Credit Union contact information for Lending Claims:
800.621.6323, Ext. 684.5659
- Member contact information for Lending Claims:
My Claims Portal
Is there any approved language my credit union can use to let members know about their CUNA Mutual products, and benefits related to COVID-19?
Yes, you may use the following approved language to share product information with your members. This text should not be altered, but may be used on your credit union website, on statement inserts, in newsletters, etc.
- Credit Insurance
Important Message For Members With Credit Insurance: If you elected Credit Life or Disability Insurance, underwritten by CMFG Life Insurance Company, on your loan with us and are facing financial troubles due to a covered loss, please contact us to file a claim or discuss what benefits may be available under the coverage. As part of the same community, (CU name) is committed to doing our part to keep us safe and sound throughout ongoing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Debt Protection
Members With Debt Protection May Be Eligible For Benefits: If you purchased (insert DP program name here) on a loan with us and are having financial issues due to a protected loss, please contact us to file a claim or discuss what benefits may be available. If elected, the protection may cancel your loan balance or monthly payment in the event of a protected event, like a disability or period of involuntary unemployment. Please contact us for more information including terms and conditions. As part of the same community, (CU name) is committed to doing our part to keep us safe and sound throughout ongoing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates.