DORSET insurer LV= says it has paid out more than £2.5million in income protection and death claims related to the coronavirus.

As of April 30, the County Gates-based institution said it had paid out to the families of 150 people whose deaths were related to Covid-19.

It had also paid out 146 Covid-related claims to policy holders with personal sick pay policies carrying a short waiting period. These claims were assessed through a personalised phone service, with payments in the customers’ bank accounts within two days, LV= said.

Debbie Kennedy, director of Protection at LV=, said: “The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is shocking and the families who have lost loved ones will be devastated. I’m proud how we’re adapting to offer reassurance and support where we can – it’s in times like these that the strengths of mutuality can come to the fore.

“We understand the emotional impact of bereavement and are doing all we can to make sure death claims are paid as quickly as possible so that families do not have to worry about the immediate financial impact of bereavement while they are grieving.

Last month, LV= introduced “payment break” financial support for qualifying members. The scheme, funded by the company’s member support fund, will offer payment breaks for up to three months for members in financial distress, with cover remaining in place.

LV= also offers access to medical experts provided by Square Health, while its member care line gives access to qualified counsellors to members in emotional distress. It also has trained nurses to offer support and practical information.

Mrs Kennedy said: “Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, we have been reviewing every aspect of what we do and have introduced a series of measures to help our members, including extending access to LV= Doctor Services,.

“Insurance should be more than just about providing cover and paying claims. It should also help provide emotional and practical support at times like these. That is why we offer our members and their families additional services such as expert counselling for emotional health issues and legal advice, along with additional financial hardship funding for those members in extreme financial distress.”