Canadian Underwriter

How Aviva is responding to dentists’ COVID-19 claims

April 2, 2020   by Greg Meckbach

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Aviva Canada is promising guidance to dentists who want to submit claims arising from provincial government orders shutting down non-essential services.

Aviva writes TripleGuard, a property and casualty insurance product for dentists provided by CDSPI, originally known as Canadian Dental Service Plans Inc.

In addition to equipment and contents, TripleGuard covers loss of services income, for up to 12 months, when the use of the office is interfered with for certain specific reasons.

“Over the last week or so, Aviva received unprecedented COVID-19 related pandemic coverage insurance claims from dentists who have a unique, one-of-a-kind insurance policy that Aviva only offers to dentists under a specific program with CDSPI Insurance Services,” Aviva Canada CEO Jason Storah said in a release.

“There were a number of complex legal, regulatory and operational hurdles related to the dentists’ claims that we simply had to work through,” added Storah. “The hurdles have now been resolved by the Provincial Government Non Essential Services Shutdown orders.”

He added that Aviva Canada stands by pandemic coverage for CDSPI clients with respect to provincial orders closing down all non-emergency dental treatment. “We will be issuing guidance and next steps shortly for the dentists so that they can each submit claims that will be individually evaluated and settled,” said Storah.

If a dentist wants to buy a new policy, it will exclude pandemic, CDSPI reports. But dentists have been asking whether existing policies exclude pandemic.

A spokesperson for CDSPI told Canadian Underwriter earlier it was working on behalf of dentists with Aviva Canada to get clarity on the conditions of TripleGuard coverage in a pandemic situation.

“The circumstances in each province are unique. Individual announcements by your provincial regulatory bodies are unprecedented, increasing the complexity in finding a uniform solution,” CDSPI said at the time.

It has been three weeks since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Related: Pandemic coverage: The big unknown for dentists

Government responses to reduce community transmission risk vary by province, the Canadian Press reported Thursday.

In British Columbia, officials have prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people in one place, including restaurants, schools, places of worship, theatres, casinos, sports arenas and outdoor venues. In Alberta, there are restrictions on mass gatherings of more than 15 people, both indoors and outdoors at places of worship, weddings or funerals. Any gathering must allow people to keep a two-metre distance from others.

For its part, the Quebec government has prohibited non-essential visits to hospitals, residential and long-term care centres or between children in foster families and their biological families.

For dentists facing income loss, the description in CDSPI’s TripleGuard brochure is silent on pandemic and disease. Coverage could be triggered by an insured peril such as fire, theft or vandalism.

Another trigger in the customized coverage is lack of access if the client is prohibited for up to four weeks from entering the premises by police, fire department or other government authority. Several other triggers exist, such as if a supplier’s property suffers loss or damage due to an insured peril which affects the client’s practice.

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