Covid-19 update

UPDATE - 24 March 2020 - Further to the National Emergency announcement last night, our office is now closed with immediate affect. The team are all working remotely and remain available by phone or email.

Please click read more for further details and a detailed Q&A.

 We are continuing to carefully monitor and manage the situation around Coronavirus, and ensure we are as well prepared and well positioned as possible to provide clients with the support and services they need.

FAQs

I have a meeting booked with an adviser - is this still likely to go ahead?

We are no longer able to offer face to face meetings and are happy to offer a phone call instead and potentially offer a Zoom call so you can view your advisers screen.

The stock market appears to be in melt-down - should I withdraw my investments?

For most stock market investors that were invested for the long-term and in the right risk grade, there is absolutely no reason to go to cash. Now is the time when you need to hang in there and do nothing. Markets recover from events like this (we just don’t know if it will be weeks, months, years or more). 

Can you give me some more background to this?

It is a fundamental principle that markets are designed to handle uncertainty, processing information in real-time as it becomes available. We see this happening when markets decline sharply, as they have recently, as well as when they rise. Such declines can be distressing to any investor, but they are also a demonstration that the market is functioning as we would expect.

Market declines can occur when investors are forced to reassess expectations for the future. The expansion of the outbreak is causing worry among governments, companies, and individuals about the impact on the global economy. Apple announced last month that it expected revenue to take a hit from problems making and selling products in China. Australia’s prime minister has said the virus will likely become a global pandemic, and other officials there warned of a serious blow to the country’s economy. Airlines are preparing for the toll it will take on travel. And these are just a few examples of how the impact of the coronavirus is being assessed.

The market is clearly responding to new information as it becomes known, but the market is pricing in unknowns, too. As risk increases during a time of heightened uncertainty, so do the returns investors demand for bearing that risk, which pushes prices lower. Our investing approach is based on the principle that prices are set to deliver positive future expected returns for holding risky assets.

For a more detailed perspective on what's happened from a historical perspective please email your adviser or the team at justask@essentialmoney.co.uk and we can provide you with a more personalised response to this, based on your current situation.

When is the market going to recover?

We can’t tell you when things will turn or by how much, but our expectation is that bearing today’s risk will be compensated with positive expected returns. That’s been a lesson of past health crises, such as the Ebola and swine-flu outbreaks earlier this century, and of market disruptions, such as the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. Additionally, history has shown no reliable way to identify a market peak or bottom. These beliefs argue against making market moves based on fear or speculation, even as difficult and traumatic events transpire.

What's Essential Money's role in this? 

As financial professionals one of the important roles we play is in helping investors develop a long-term plan they can stick with in a variety of conditions. We are trained to consider a wide range of possible outcomes, both good and bad, when helping an investor establish an asset allocation and plan. Those preparations include the possibility, even the inevitability, of a downturn. Amid the anxiety that accompanies developments surrounding the coronavirus, decades of financial science and long-term investing principles remain a strong guide.

Should I be worried about my investments?

For the reasons stated above, your adviser will have worked with you to structure your plan and investments so that you can afford to take the relevant amount of investment risk .

Should I invest more into the stock market seeing as the price is lower?

Some of our clients are taking the opportunity of lower market prices to increase their investments. You should consider carefully with your adviser whether you have the investment tolerance to withstand any further market falls.

Can I book a call to speak to an adviser about my situation?

Please email justask@essentialmoney.co.uk to book a call.

Is this recent crash worse than others in the past?

As of 24 March, the fall in markets over the last 2-3 weeks is certainly not the most significant we have seen in the last 10-15 years. All market corrections are different and it is not possible to predict when the market will start to rise again.

Am I insured for this event?

Most clients we have spoken to in the last few days are not insured for the loss of profits associated with closing their business. However, if you contract the virus and have an income protection plan with immediate cover (Day 1 cover), then it's very likely you will be able to make a valid claim for the time you are off. If you are self-isolating to reduce the chances of getting ill, you are unlikely to be covered. Our understanding is that if you suspect you have coronavirus and are instructed to self-isolate over the coming weeks and months you can obtain a digital notification via NHS 111 online which can automatically generate a sick note. This should be sufficient to substantiate an income protection claim.

We would encourage clients to take this opportunity to review their personal insurance arrangements to ensure they remain appropriate and for example check they have completed the relevant trust forms. Please get in touch with the team if you have any questions on this.

Do Dentists' Provident have any guidance on claiming?

Dentists' Provident members can make a claim if they suffer a loss of income because they cannot work as a result of their illness (including COVID-19) or injury. To make a claim, members need to complete and return their claim form within 90 days of the end of their waiting period. Dentists' Provident will assess members’ claims (including those for COVID-19) in line with their standard procedures, the relevant plan terms and conditions and any special conditions applicable to individual plan holders.

As the situation surrounding COVID-19 is still evolving, they will keep the guidance under review. For more information please contact their claims team on +44 (0) 20 7400 5730.

Do LV= have any guidance on claiming?

Updated 18/03/2020  

For self-employed clients, who will have no entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay, any interruption to their ability to earn can have immediate and significant financial consequences. So, their income protection insurance is an essential and important safety net. LV= offer a clear and fair approach to paying claims and will continue to take this approach when dealing with claims relating to coronavirus.

Confirmed diagnosis (new and existing business)

Where a policyholder has a confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus, LV= will assess and pay their claim in the usual way reflecting their chosen waiting period and the policy terms and conditions.

Self-isolation (existing business before 9 March 2020)

For existing LV= Personal Sick Pay members, with a ‘day one’ and ‘week one’ waiting period only, LV= will consider claims for medically-advised self-isolation, which aligns with current NHS 111 guidance (travel from designated risk areas or direct contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis). These are highly unusual circumstances, so any decision and payment they make for self-isolation will be outside of the normal terms and conditions.

LV= handle all claims by telephone, with an experienced team. Their people will take a pragmatic approach based on the usual evidence requirements, taking into account the individual’s circumstances, guidance they’ve been given and any other income they’re receiving during self-isolation. LV= will make decisions immediately and any payments made for self-isolation (current guidance is for up to 14 days from contact) will be in the member’s bank account within a couple of days.

Do I need to watch out for scammers ?

Yes - the scammers are already out preying on the vulnerable. We've had reports from providers of clients being cold called and told that EXISTING plans won’t pay out on death of COVID-19 and they need to re-broke to a new one with them. Thieves have been offering to do shopping for the elderly, but keeping the money for themselves. So as always, remain sceptical, keep an eye on your elderly friends and relatives and if in doubt please call your adviser - we're ready to take calls anytime - if our mobiles are on, you can call us, we'll turn them off when we don't want to be disturbed.