FactCheck Social Media

Claim COVID-19 vaccine will void life insurance is dead wrong

2021-04-15 15:23:28

The Statement

A social media post claims people who “consent” to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine risk losing life insurance benefits because any side effects from the immunisation would be considered “self-inflicted”.

A Facebook post shared on March 30 by an Australian user features a purported photo of the “product disclosure statement and policy document” for Allianz’s life insurance policy.

The document, dated 31 July 2020, includes a list of scenarios in which a life insurance benefit would not be payable. The following point is highlighted: “We will not pay Critical Illness or Permanently Unable to Work benefit where the condition is intentionally self-inflicted”.

At the bottom, a section of red italicised text has been circled. It reads: “If you CONSENT to taking a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’ your consent is ‘self-inflicted’, it was your choice to have the experimental medical procedure and therefore insurance WILL NOT COVER ANY DAMAGE OR DEATH.”

“All injuries for insurance must not be ACCIDENTAL and a treatment by consent is not an accident.”

The post had been viewed more than 46,000 times and attracted more than 550 interactions before it was removed. Similar claims have appeared on Twitter and elsewhere on Facebook.

A Facebook post including an edited Allianz document
 A Facebook post wrongly claims COVID-19 vaccines will void life insurance policies. 

The Analysis

Choosing to receive a COVID-19 vaccination will not void a person’s life insurance policy or exclude them from receiving benefits, according to Australia’s peak body for financial services. In addition, the Allianz document has been selectively edited with text added to include false claims about “self-inflicted” vaccine side effects.

In Australia, the AstraZeneca and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines have been provisionally approved for use by the health regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

While it is normal for people to experience some side effects relating to the vaccines, the majority of cases are mild. Two instances of a rare and potentially fatal blood-clotting disorder likely linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine had been identified in Australia as of April 13 out of around 700,000 administered doses.

However, an Allianz spokeswoman told AAP FactCheck the Facebook post about its life insurance policies was “fraudulent and contains false information”. She referred to the company’s life insurance “frequently asked questions” page, which says Allianz policies do not contain specific exclusions for COVID-19 – although people who ignored government advice on travelling overseas would not be entitled to benefits.

The image of the purported Allianz life insurance document in the post shows edited sections of the company’s product disclosure statement. The majority of the original document’s sections titled “when is a benefit not payable (policy exclusions?” (page 8) and the definitions for “accidental death” and “injury” (page 12) have been cut and pasted together.

The edited sections of text have not been altered, however the italicised red text and other emphases have been added.

Elsewhere, Allianz lists information encouraging people to get COVID-19 vaccines on its health insurance website, which states the insurer will cover the cost of treatment for COVID-19 as well as private vaccination costs when applicable.

In Australia, the Financial Services Council (FSC) is the peak body which represents insurers and other financial firms and sets mandatory standards for the industry. Its senior policy manager for life insurance, Nick Kirwan, told AAP FactCheck in an email the claims in the post were “just scaremongering nonsense”.

“Taking the COVID-19 vaccine will not impact your life insurance policy in any way. Also we do not believe it is correct to describe an approved vaccine as ‘experimental medical treatment’,” he said.

Similar false claims have circulated overseas, leading the American Council Of Life Insurers and Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association to release statements stating that life insurance policies would not be affected in those countries if people received COVID-19 vaccines.

A person wearing PPE touches a coffin
 Claims COVID-19 vaccines will void life insurance policies have been dismissed as “nonsense”. 

The Verdict

Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not void a person’s life insurance policy, according to Australia’s peak body for insurers.

A post including segments of Allianz’s policy documents alongside claims vaccine side effects would be considered “self-inflicted” is false and fraudulent, the insurance company said.

False – Content that has no basis in fact.

* AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International Fact-Checking Network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.