About ATL Protect
This document contains a summary of the main terms of the ATL Protect Plan. It does this in a question and answer format which has been designed to show the how the Plan works including the main limitations and exclusions of the Plan. This summary does not contain the full terms of the policy. The full terms can be found in the policy document. This summary document also sets out a list of important points in relation to the product that we wish to draw to your attention.
What are the aims of ATL Protect?
We, Irish Life Assurance plc (Irish Life), insure ATL Protect, and have appointed Affinity First Ltd (“Affinity”) as our Appointed Representative to provide information to members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) about the Plan. ATL Protect is a group insurance plan designed to pay a monthly benefit to ATL members whose income has reduced or stopped altogether due to illness or injury, and who are unable to continue working in their normal occupation or have to reduce their normal working hours.
What is my commitment as a member of ATL Protect?
When you apply to join ATL Protect you commit to:
- Paying monthly premiums (referred to in this document as your membership contributions) by direct debit for the duration of your cover under the Plan
- Participate in the Plan in accordance with the Policy terms and conditions
How do I know if I am eligible for membership of ATL Protect?
To be eligible for membership of ATL Protect you must:
- Have a personal bank account in the UK, from which direct debits can be collected.
- Earn a salary of at least £15,000 per annum before tax.
- Be under 59 years of age.
- Have an email address and regular internet access.
- Be an ATL member, living and working in the UK on a permanent employment contract in the education sector. If you claim for benefits under ATL Protect and it is found that this is not the case, you will not be paid any benefits and your cover will be withdrawn.
What benefits does ATL Protect give me?
ATL Protect will, after a ‘waiting period’ (also called the ‘deferred period’), pay you a monthly benefit if your income has reduced or stopped altogether due to illness or injury, and you are unable to continue in your normal occupation or have to reduce your normal working hours. This is what we call the ‘definition of disability’.
The waiting period is 100 working days in a row after which point you will become entitled to a benefit of 17.5% of your insured salary.
If you are still absent from work or have to continue working at reduced hours for a further 100 working days in a row, your benefit will increase to 35% of your insured salary from that point on. You should note that the waiting period is the same for all members.
Under current UK tax law this benefit is paid to you free of income tax.
‘Working days’ means weekdays other than bank holidays.
Is there any limit to the amount of benefit I can be paid?
Yes. There is a cap on the level of benefit which can be paid to you by ATL Protect. This means that your total income – including your ATL Protect benefit and any other income you are receiving – cannot be more than 82.5% of the after-tax income you were earning before you fell ill. If your income from other sources exceeds this amount, the benefit paid by ATL Protect will be reduced, so that your income overall does not exceed 82.5% of your after tax income.
Examples of other sources of income and/or awards which may be taken into account include:
– any other income you receive from carrying out continuing work
– any other on-going insurances you receive for your illness or injury
– lump sum awards you receive in respect of your illness or injury
How is the level of my benefit and the amount of my membership contribution calculated?
- The membership contribution rate is the same for all members. The membership contribution rate is currently set at 1.2% of your insured salary. This rate may rise or fall during future reviews of ATL Protect and will be agreed with ATL and notified to all members. Typically, these reviews take place every 2 to 3 years. As part of the review we will look at whether or not the amount paid out in claims is more or less than we expected. We will also look at other relevant changes including changes in economic conditions such as interest rates and taxation and changes in medical treatments. We will tell you when a review takes place and explain any changes in your benefits and membership contribution rate. You will be given three months’ notice before any changes take effect. You may cancel your membership if you do not accept any such changes.
- We decide whether or not to accept your application to ATL Protect based on the information you provide when you apply. In some cases, we may decide to offer you cover only on the basis that certain medical conditions are excluded. If this happens, we will provide you with full details of the medical conditions which are excluded so you can decide whether to join on this basis or cancel your membership application.
- The level of your benefit and the amount of your membership contribution is based on the salary you provided when joining ATL Protect. This salary is your ‘insured salary’. There will be a salary benchmarking exercise each year which will be used to increase all members ‘insured salary’ for the purpose of premium and benefit calculations by a fixed percentage. The outcome of the annual salary review will be decided by us after consultation with ATL and the decision we and ATL make will be final. Affinity will contact you in advance of us applying any increase. The increase will be applied unless you tell us not to do so.
- Each time your insured salary is changed your level of cover and membership contributions are changed in line with your new insured salary. Your direct debit will be adjusted to reflect your new membership contribution. We will contact you to let you know these changes have been made.
How are my membership contributions collected?
Your membership contributions will be deducted from your bank account at the start of each month by direct debit.
What happens if I do not pay my membership contributions?
If your membership contributions are not paid your cover will cease within 31 days. No refund will be made to you.
Will I have to pay my membership contributions if I am being paid benefits by ATL Protect?
No. Your membership contributions will not be collected from your bank account while you are being paid benefits by ATL Protect.
Can I change my mind and cancel my membership of ATL Protect?
Yes. You can cancel your membership at any time by calling or emailing Affinity at 0800 138 1690 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you cancel within 30 days of being accepted as a member of ATL Protect we will refund you in full any membership contributions you have already paid. If you cancel your membership after 30 days no refunds will be paid.
How do I claim for benefits from ATL Protect?
You can contact Affinity on 0800 138 1690 to start the process of claiming for benefits. We will send you a Claim Notification Form and an explanation of how to claim for benefits from ATL Protect.
You can submit your Claim Notification Form once it becomes likely that your illness or injury will go on for longer than the waiting period but you should submit your claim for benefits no later than 2 months from the end of the waiting period. Claims made after this deadline may not be back-dated to the end of the 100 working day period and the payment of your benefits is likely to be delayed.
Claims made more than 3 months after the end of the waiting period will not be paid unless there is a good reason for the delay.
In assessing your claim, we will seek medical confirmation that you are unable to work your normal hours.
Are there any restrictions I need to remember?
Yes. There are three situations where you may not be entitled to benefits from ATL Protect:
- if your illness or injury is deliberately self-inflicted;
- if you do not follow the advice of your treating doctor or the advice of the independent medical examiner we appoint to assess your case;
- if your illness or injury is as a result of you breaking the law.
Will my benefit be increased during payment?
Yes. If you are being paid benefits by ATL Protect, the amount you are paid will increase by the lower of 2.5% or the Retail Price Index each year. The increase will be applied on the anniversary of the date on which your benefit payments started.
Will I have to pay tax on my benefits?
No. Currently there is no obligation to pay income tax on the benefits you receive from ATL Protect.
This is based on our current understanding of English Law and HM Revenue and Customs practice. Any changes in the future to the current practice may affect this.
For how long will my benefits be paid?
Your benefits will be paid for as long as you continue to meet the definition of disability which applied when your benefits under the Plan first started to be paid, unless:
- your other sources of income have increased to 82.5% or more of the after tax income you were earning before you fell ill
- you have, in our opinion, recovered your health to such an extent that you could return to work in your normal occupation for the same number of hours each week you were working before you fell ill (even if you do not do so),
- you have actually returned to work in your normal occupation for the same number of hours you were working before you fell ill,
- you die, or
- you have reached the expiry age, which is the later of:
- age 60, or
- 5 years prior to Normal Pension Age under your employer’s pension scheme, to a maximum of age 63.
Can my cover start again once if I return to work after a period of being paid benefits by ATL Protect?
Yes. Your cover will start again once you return to work. Contributions will become due and we will recommence deductions by Direct Debit from your bank account when this happens. If you no longer wish to remain a member of ATL Protect then you should notify us, and we will cancel your membership.
What else should I bear in mind?
We think it is important, before you decide whether or not to apply to become a member, for you to consider the following features of the ATL Protect Plan:
- You are only covered under this policy as long as you are in permanent employment and are a member of ATL.
- Your sick pay entitlements from your employer may operate on a different basis to ATL Protect. This means you should bear in mind that there may be a gap between the time your sick pay entitlements from your employer end and benefit payments from ATL Protect begin.
- ATL Protect is reviewed periodically, typically every two or three years. This means:
- The membership contribution may be increased or decreased
- If the membership contribution needs to be increased significantly, we may instead reduce the amount of cover available under the Plan.
- If as a result of the review Irish Life believe that providing cover is no longer financially sustainable then we may cease cover under the plan.
We may make other changes to ATL Protect if we believe it makes sense to do so because of changes in the law or regulations.Cover for all members of ATL Protect can be cancelled at anytime by mutual agreement between ATL and Irish Life.
Through Affinity, we will tell you when a review takes place and explain any changes in your benefits and membership contribution rate. You will receive three months’ advance notice before any changes are made to the plan.
ATL can independently cancel the cover for all members of ATL Protect by notifying Irish Life in writing of their intention to do so. ATL can only exercise this option anytime after 1st September 2024.
There is no option to continue cover under an individual policy if membership of the ATL Protect Plan ceases or if it is cancelled.
Your membership contributions and the level of benefits you enjoy with ATL Protect will be based on your insured salary increased annually at a rate agreed with ATL. If this insured salary is lower than your actual salary, your benefits will be based on your insured salary. As a result, it is very important that you review your insured salary and contact us if you want to ensure that your insured salary stays fully in line with your actual salary.
Benefits from ATL Protect are also subject to ‘cap’ which means that your ATL Protect benefit and any other income you are receiving cannot be more than 82.5% of the after-tax salary at the time your benefit payments start (increased each year by the lower of 2.5% or the RPI). This means that if your insured salary is higher than your actual salary this cap may be more likely to apply.
We reserve the right to stop your benefit payments if, while you are being paid benefits, you are resident outside the United Kingdom and Ireland and remain so for more than six months.
If the information you provide at the time of joining or afterwards is found to be incorrect, then you may find that your entitlement to benefits from ATL Protect may be reduced or, in some cases, your cover may be cancelled with no refund of membership contributions.
If your annual salary is less than £20,000 at a time when you apply for benefit payment from ATL Protect, it is possible means tested state benefits may result in no financial gain for you, taking both the ATL Protect benefit and means tested social welfare benefits into account
Your membership of ATL Protect will not entitle you to an encashment value at any time.
In either event all members will be given three months advance notice that their cover will be cancelled.
Am I covered by the UK Compensation Scheme?
Yes the UK Policyholder Protection Scheme covers UK resident policyholders and members of the ATL Protect Plan. The scheme currently provides compensation for 100% of the amount due in respect of a policy of insurance in the event that the insurer is declared to be in default (for example, because it is insolvent).
How do I make a complaint?
If at any stage you are unhappy with us or Affinity, you should contact us or Affinity outlining why you are unhappy. If we or Affinity are unable to resolve any issues to your satisfaction you will be entitled to refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service which is a free service for you.
Financial Ombudsman Service
London E14 9SR
Phone: 0800 023 4567 or 0300 123 9123
Making a complaint will not affect your right to take legal action against us.
How will we communicate with you?
It will be necessary for you to have an email account and internet access in order for you to receive information about the product. We may contact you by phone, email and/or letter to ensure we process your application for cover, your claim or other details about the Plan in a timely manner.
Affinity will stay in touch with you by email and phone.
You will also have access to your own account on the Affinity online members’ area, where you can review all documentation in relation to your ATL Protect Policy. If you have difficulty with reading emails or hearing phone conversations, please let us know and we will arrange to contact you by letter or some other acceptable medium.
If you are claiming from ATL Protect or are already receiving a benefit from ATL Protect we will communicate with you by letter, phone or email.
You can contact us by writing to us at our Head Office:
Voluntary Risk Department
Corporate Business Division
Irish Life Assurance plc
Irish Life Centre
Lower Abbey Street,
Phone: 0800 161 5811 (lines open 9 am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
Information about Irish Life’s business will be set out in our Solvency and Financial Condition Report which will be available on the website of our Appointed Representative, Affinity First Limited. The website address is dev.affinity.com
Please quote the ATL Group Policy No. 25500, and your personal reference number, which you will be able to see on your membership certificate in your portal.
Alternatively you can contact our Appointed Representative, Affinity, by writing to them at:
6th Floor, Aldgate Tower
2 Leman Street
London E1 8FA.
Phone: 0800 138 1690
You will be sent a copy of the policy document, which details the full terms and conditions when you are accepted for cover by Irish Life. If you would like a copy before then, you can obtain one by logging on to dev.affinity.com or by contacting us.
The policy is governed by the law of England.
We are authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland and subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. Irish Life is on the Financial Services register and our FCA registration number is 148172.
The information in this document is to help you to decide whether this product is suitable for you. Irish Life and its appointed representatives will not provide advice on the suitability of this product for you. If you want advice you should talk to a personal financial adviser. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can find one local to you by using the following website: www.unbiased.co.uk
Please note: every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication is accurate at the time of going to press. Irish Life Assurance plc accepts no responsibility for any liability incurred or loss suffered as a consequence of relying on any matter published in or omitted from this publication. Readers are recommended to take qualified advice before acting on any of the matters covered.
In the interest of customer service we will monitor calls.