MetLife UK has seen a 250% increase in Long-COVID claims in Q3, according to internal data findings.
The rise in claims comes as an estimated 1.2 million people in the UK have reported suffering with Long-COVID in the past four weeks. This is up from 1.1 million in October – a jump of nearly 10%.1 MetLife’s own claims data reveals that Long-COVID accounts for 10% of new Group Income Protection claims in the last three months – up 250% from the previous quarter2.
Those suffering from Long-COVID may experience symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of smell, chest pain and ‘brain fog’. Data also shows that while young people are less at risk of catching COVID-19, they are most likely to suffer from long-COVID. Data from the Office for National Statistics found that the prevalence of self-reported long-COVID was ‘notably higher’ among people aged 12 to 16 years or 17 to 24 years compared with the previous month. The figure for 17 to 24-year-olds was 2.4% (142,000), up from 1.9% (112,000).3
New figures from the NHS shows that only 5,000 people a month are being referred to specialist long-Covid clinics, with wait times reaching 15 weeks for first appointments. To help, MetLife, through its provision on Group Income Protection policies in partnership with HCB Group. Through this service, policyholders can get treatment within just a few days.
To further support those with Long-COVID, MetLife has also launched a Long-COVID pathway to help employees manage their symptoms and begin the process of returning to work after a period of the illness.
MetLife’s clinical pathway aims to minimise employee absence duration and prevent absence becoming long term. The pathway helps employers and employees understand the options available to them and provide tailored return to work support alongside:
- Early Intervention case managers
- Access to necessary treatment
- Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) and wellbeing resources
- Employee awareness modules
- Training for employees and managers
MetLife UK paid almost £50 million in claims across its three core divisions in Q3, including Individual Protection, Group Protection and Employee Benefits Group Life. MetLife paid £38.75 million via the Employee Benefits Group Life division, £3.4 million via the Individual Protection division and a further £4.9m in Group Protection claims.
Stuart Lewis, Head of Claims at MetLife, comments, “From symptoms through to treatment so much remains unknown about Long-COVID, meaning that it’s no surprise that cases and claims are rising rapidly. At MetLife we’ve seen a clear uptick in the number of claims from our customers and have worked hard to provide the financial support they need as quickly as possible.
“In order to support our customers too we have recently launched our Long-COVID clinical pathway to help employees manage their symptoms and work towards returning to work as soon as they feel able to. Long-COVID symptoms can leave employees unable to concentrate or work altogether. Employers should reflect on the current employee benefits packages to see what support their provider can offer for Long-COVID. Already 1.2 million Brits are reported to be suffering from Long-COVID symptoms, and with the huge demand seeing waiting times of more than 15 weeks. For small businesses who can’t afford to lose key members of staff, ensuring that the return-to-work process is made as smooth as possible following time off with Long-COVID is paramount.”