New Zealand insurer MAS has put together a significant relief package for its Members, built around a $2 million hardship fund for Members who find themselves in financial difficulty.
The package also includes a pass-back of savings that MAS has made on reduced motor vehicle claims to Members with motor vehicle insurance; a series of grants to community initiatives involved in the fight against COVID-19; and a broader series of health and wellbeing initiatives.
MAS is a mutual that provides insurance and financial services for New Zealand professionals, including more than 80% of the country’s medical professionals.
While medical professionals have been at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, many are facing financial stress due to decreased patronage in medical practices and an increase in costs related to COVID-19 prevention.
Chief Executive Martin Stokes says MAS was set up in 1921 to help support doctors and continuing to protect their Members has been their focus ever since.
“For almost 100 years, MAS has provided insurance for New Zealand’s medical professionals, and more recently a wider sector of professionals. We are a mutual, and we see it as our duty to ensure our Members are able to get through in these challenging times and, importantly, retain insurance coverage wherever possible.
“We are particularly aware of our responsibility to New Zealand’s medical professionals who have been so crucial in the past few months providing the safe testing and care for Kiwis with COVID-19.
“We believe the resilience of the professional sector is vital to New Zealand, and our Members across the professions will remain core to regrowing our economy as we transition beyond lockdown, so we want to do our part to ensure they can keep working and providing Kiwis with world-class care and support going forward,” Stokes says.
The relief fund
The $2 million relief fund has been set up to help Members retain their insurance cover if they find themselves in financial hardship.
Those who are unable to pay their regular bills and have exhausted other options provided by the Government or their banks can apply for this help from MAS. If they qualify, MAS will pay the premiums for their general insurance, life, disability and income protection policies for three months.
Members wishing to apply to the Relief Fund should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Motor vehicle claim savings
With fewer people driving during recent weeks, any savings made on motor vehicle claims will be passed back to Members with motor vehicle insurance. The size of these savings will be assessed once the lockdown environment has finished.
The recently established MAS Foundation has made around $350,000 worth of grants for COVID-related relief and recovery initiatives around the country. These grants are helping communities where needs are greatest, yet their wellbeing is persistently compromised.
These initiatives range from supporting the Pacific Leaders Forum and the Otara Health Charitable Trust to helping fund a Facebook-based COVID-19 chatbot and an online information-sharing platform for medical health researchers.
Find out more at https://www.mas.co.nz/about-mas/mas-foundation/grant-stories/.
Health and wellbeing
MAS is funding three free counselling sessions for each Member with independent counselling agency EAP Services. In addition, MAS has launched an online health and wellbeing portal that is free for every Member and their families.