ICMIF member MAS (New Zealand) is launching a hardship fund for its members who are in financial difficulty due to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as making a return of premium savings on motor vehicle insurance, and issuing community grants through the MAS Foundation. These initiatives come in addition to measures MAS had already put in place, including deferring premium payments for those facing financial hardship and adapting some insurance policy cover and benefits.
The MAS relief fund
MAS has put together a NZD 2 million (USD 1.2 million) relief fund to ensure individual members in hardship remain protected. For members who qualify, MAS will pay the premiums for all their policies (general insurance, as well as life, disability and income protection) for three months. In addition, MAS is trying to help any member that is unable to pay their regular bills now or in a near future.
Motor vehicle premium reductions
For members who hold motor vehicle insurance, MAS will automatically pass on any savings they make due to the reduction in motor vehicle claims during the lockdown.
The newly established MAS Foundation has made ten grants for COVID-related relief and recovery initiatives around New Zealand (representing NZD350,000 / USD 210,000). These grants are helping communities where needs are greatest, yet their wellbeing is persistently compromised.
Health and wellbeing support
- Free counselling
Because MAS is not only concerned about its members’ financial wellbeing but also their mental and emotional wellbeing, it offers them up to three free counselling sessions with an independent counselling firm, with no application process or prepayment needed.
- MAS Wellbeing Portal
In early April, MAS launched an online MAS Wellbeing Portal, in partnership with Synergy Health. This free online resource centre provides tools and simple, pragmatic advice about how to improve physical health, along with nutritional, mental, and financial wellbeing.
The portal is available to MAS’s members and their families, and has more than 700 registrations already.
Policy adjustments and flexible processes
MAS has adjusted its insurance policies and processes to make sure no one is unfairly treated during the lockdown. For example, extended hire car usage periods for members with a motor vehicle claim already in progress, extended contract works expiry dates, and flexible rental property inspections during lockdown.
Sharing lockdown stories
MAS is also sharing its members’ stories on their Facebook page to support both members and their communities.