COVID-19

Doing business in uncertain times

John Hancock Insurance will continue to support you, your business and your clients — all day, every day. Your business has not stopped and neither has ours.

Latest updates

Spotlight news
COVID-19 and doing business with John Hancock
May 27th, 2020

Important updates
John Hancock Underwriting and COVID-19
May 7th, 2020

New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS)
Emergency Regulations
April 27th, 2020

Customer notification
New York Emergency Regulations
April 27th, 2020

A message from
New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance
March 27th, 2020

A message regarding
Vitality program modification
March 19th, 2020

Business process enhancements

As previously communicated, we want to provide you with some specific operational updates as we navigate the upcoming weeks together. In an ongoing effort to make it easy to do business with us, we're making adjustments to our normal processes and workflows in order to continue delivering the products and solutions your clients need. We appreciate your continued trust in John Hancock as we navigate these unprecedented times together.

  • A statement in the “Special Instructions” box in Part I, Section L of the application indicating whether or not each proposed insured or any household member has within the past 30 days traveled or resided outside of the US, has traveled by cruise ship, or has come into close contact with anyone known to the insured to have tested positive for COVID-19. If travel has occurred, the statement should indicate where they traveled and when they returned.1
  • For individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, underwriting will be postponed for a minimum of 30 days post-recovery until further evaluation can be completed.
  • Any consultations with medical professionals, or completed or pending tests by a proposed insured, that are related to COVID-19 should be disclosed in response to the relevant questions on the application and/or supplemental application forms.
  • An updated good health statement is required at delivery on all policies. 

Underwriting reserves the right to request additional information and/or defer any decisions when there is not enough information to render an underwriting assessment.  

At John Hancock Insurance we have taken the time to carefully review our underwriting practices to determine how we can evolve them in the current circumstances. While our normal underwriting practices continue, please see below for a few important updates:

1. Establishing an alternative to paramed and/or exam when not obtainable
In cases where exams and labs are not possible, we may consider medical records as a substitute.2

a. For the following ages and amounts we will routinely consider recent medical records as an alternative to a current paramed or exam:   

    i.  Face amounts up to $5 million for ages 18-65
    II. Face amounts up to $3 million for ages 66-70

b. We may be able to apply this practice to face amounts up to $10 million for ages 18-60 and up to $5 million for ages 61-70, subject to individual case consideration 

For these cases, medical records should include a comprehensive visit with a physical and labs within the last 12 months, accompanied by a completed Part II medical supplement form. All other submissions will be subject to routine age and amount requirements. Please contact your John Hancock underwriter with any questions.

2. Providing our capabilities for EHR access when APS is not available

In order to expedite the underwriting process for cases where medical records cannot be accessed through traditional channels, your clients can now provide John Hancock Insurance direct access to their health records through our Human API patient portal. Please see additional details here and share this client-approved flyer to give your customers a simple step-by-step guide to using Human API.

3. Updates on older-age underwriting (80+)

During this unique time, John Hancock will not be making final underwriting offers on cases where the applicant is 80+. We are happy to continue to receive and review submissions for these clients with the goal of moving on them quickly when circumstances change. For any pending submissions in this age group with a formal application and a final underwriting offer, you can expect a call from your John Hancock underwriter shortly to discuss next steps.

Expanding John Hancock ExpressTrack® streamlined underwriting process to include paper applications with no need for a telephone interview 3

  • Submissions must include the application (“Part I”), the medical supplement (“Part II”) and any other applicable authorizations
  • All application elements must be submitted simultaneously
  • The medical supplement (“Part II”) is not automatically included in the application kit and it should be completed by the agent

What you need to know:

  • NEW! As we mentioned above, the traditional paper application has been added as an ExpressTrack submission option. Please remember, all submissions must include the application (“Part I”), the medical supplement (“Part II”) and any other applicable authorizations, and all elements must be submitted simultaneously. No telephone interview will be conducted. Please note: the medical supplement (“Part II”) is not automatically included in the application kit and it should be completed by the agent. 
  • JH Life eTicket, iPipeLine’s Drop Ticket and ApplicInt Multi-Carrier Drop Ticket for term will include a telephone interview with the client to complete medical questions
  • JH Paper Ticket for all single-life products including LTC rider will include a telephone interview with the client to complete medical questions
  • ExpressTrack is not available with iPipeline’s iGO eApp
  • Here’s a list of ExpressTrack-eligible submission methods
  • Help your clients prepare for the telephone interview with this flyer

ExpressTrack eligibility criteria remain the same:

  • Ages 18-60
  • Face amounts up to and including $3 million
  • All term and permanent single-life products, including the Long-Term Care rider
  • Standard or better risk class 

All other submissions will be subject to routine age and amount requirements. Please contact your John Hancock underwriter with any questions.

John Hancock is continuing to monitor and work closely with our paramedical vendors, lab processing centers and medical record providers, who have all implemented their business continuity plans.

In this evolving landscape, we will be providing updates on our short-term alternative underwriting processes. You can expect to see the first update in the coming days.

The health and well-being of our customers (and your clients) is always our priority. Now, more than ever, it’s important we provide them with the tools and resources to help them live longer, healthier lives. In recent weeks, we have made proactive adjustments to the John Hancock Vitality Program to provide even more support to our members and help them maximize the benefits and resources available to them while they are at home.

  • At-home workouts: We realize your clients can’t get to the gym for their regular workouts. That’s why we now allow members to temporarily earn Vitality Points for home workouts. These points will also count towards Apple Watch payments. We shared this easy how-to guide with members to show them how to document their workouts and earn their points.
  • Vitality Checks: It’s difficult for your clients to get to the doctor’s office for their Vitality Checks, so we are automatically putting 5,500 Vitality Points into eligible4 clients’ accounts.
  • Healthy living reminders and tips: Vitality members have been receiving informative content and reminders to help them eat well, get a good night’s rest, and keep a balanced mind — all from the comfort and safety of home.

In addition to temporary changes to our underwriting process, we are also updating our policy delivery process to accommodate our many partners who are now working remotely. Details are available here.

The Inforce Operations team remains committed to delivering on customer requests in a timely and efficient manner. We have redeployed staff to focus on high volume requests and those with more urgency. Based on staff redeploying to support critical functions, the current impact to cycle time is limited.

Similarly, we are working to ensure that we can answer calls as quickly as possible. The Call Center remains a high priority for the organization and will continue to be a focus as we navigate through this time.

If customers are experiencing a hardship and having difficulty paying their premium due to challenges presented by COVID-19, we will provide a total grace period of 90 days. We will continue to review and adjust this approach as appropriate and will of course follow any specific state requirements. We are here to support you and your customers during this challenging time.

To request an extended grace period for a customer, please contact us by calling 1-800-387-2747 (USA) or 1-888-267-7784 (NY) between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST to speak to a customer service representative. 

For New York customers – please reference the New York DFS Emergency Regulation for more information.

We have received several questions about how claims related to COVID-19 will be administered.

John Hancock life insurance policies do not contain exclusions related to any specific disease or a pandemic. If a claim is received where a death occurred as a result of COVID-19, it will be paid in accordance with our normal procedures, subject to our standard contestability provisions. We remain committed to paying death claims as quickly as possible.

When there is a health crisis like we are currently experiencing, people with preexisting conditions like diabetes are at increased risk of complications. It is so important for your clients with diabetes to prioritize their health at this time, but they may not be able to get in their regular doctor’s visits and may also find it more challenging to manage their nutrition, physical activity and stress. As part of John Hancock Aspire, your qualified clients with type 2 diabetes can access Onduo, a state-of-the-art virtual diabetes clinic offering:

  • Personal health coaches, certified diabetes educators and doctors available via app, phone or email
  • Educational tools available online to help them manage and improve their health
  • Blood glucose meter and test strips, shipped to their door
  • Ability to follow personal glucose data right from their phone

In addition, John Hancock Aspire members have access to webinars and other online resources designed to help them learn how to best protect their health, today and every day.

Insights from our leadership

Marianne Harrison, the President and Chief Executive Officer of John Hancock

Marianne Harrison

President & CEO, John Hancock

Throughout this challenging time, our top priority at John Hancock remains the health and safety of our employees, our customers and our partners. We express our deepest sympathies to those whose health has been affected and our well wishes to all dealing with changes in their personal and professional live

John Hancock is well-positioned to navigate this evolving situation. We have robust and tested business continuity plans in place to ensure we are proactive and prepared, and employees in critical functions can work remotely, as part of our regular preparedness practices. Please see the attached Business Continuity Plan PDF for further details.

You should not expect a disruption in our ability to support our customers and operate our businesses, and we continue to deliver products and services to our customers. John Hancock has committed $1 Million to help provide food and essential medicines (as well as other support services) to families and children in need due to the pandemic. We’re proud to support the Boston Resiliency Fund as a cornerstone of this effort to foster a healthier, more equitable Boston, especially during such challenging times.

We believe it’s our responsibility to do our part to support the health and safety of those within our community and help ensure their future stability and family success. We are proud of our team of employees and partners, they remain focused, committed and resilient. John Hancock will continue to take necessary actions to ensure the health and safety of our employees, and service to our customers is a top priority.

Brooks Tingle

President & CEO, John Hancock Insurance

The past two weeks have left us all with more questions than answers. In this time of great uncertainty and rapidly evolving information, I want to assure you that as your partner, John Hancock Insurance will continue to support you, your business and your clients — all day, every day. Your business has not stopped and neither has ours.

Through careful planning, we have taken steps to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers and business partners, while mitigating disruptions to our sales process. At John Hancock, we have helped our sales partners weather many unexpected challenges in our 155+ year history. We have learned lessons from each experience that have made us more prepared and better equipped to work through the current global pandemic and continue to process new business, pay claims and support your success.

As part of our business continuity plan:

  • Key staff are in place to address your business needs — including in our new business, underwriting and inforce areas
  • Many of our staff are cross-trained to support vital functions and avoid any business interruptions
  • To limit the opportunity for the virus to spread, we’ve asked our employees to work remotely and our sales team to refrain from traveling. But we have provided each of them with a robust selection of virtual tools that will allow them to work seamlessly and effectively to meet your needs.
  • Given the evolving landscape, we are preparing an update on temporary underwriting revisions that we expect to share with you in the coming days

Our industry is designed to help people plan, prepare and protect. Our team is unwavering in our commitment to that mission and in our commitment to you. As we’ve learned, challenging times often prompt people to survey their own preparedness, including future financial protection for their families. Together, we will find innovative ways to meet the demand and continue offering the peace of mind that life insurance can provide, at a time when people need comfort and security most.

Above all, I wish you and your families well. Thank you for the trust you place in John Hancock Insurance. Together, we will get through this situation and be stronger for it.

Linda Levyne

SVP, Head of Sales & Distribution

During the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, as head of Life Insurance Distribution, I want to assure you that all of us at John Hancock are committed to providing you with the products and services you rely upon to meet your clients’ needs. As one of our valued distributors, please note the following steps we’ve taken to ensure we remain ready to serve you and your clients:

  • We’ve implemented our well-tested, thorough business continuity plans and key staff are in place to address your business needs — including in our new business, underwriting and inforce areas.
  • Many of our staff are cross-trained to support key functions in the unfortunate event that a large number of employees would need to miss work due to illness.
  • To limit the opportunity for the virus to spread, we’ve asked our employees to work remotely — and our sales team to refrain from traveling. But we have provided each of them with a robust selection of virtual tools that will allow them to work seamlessly and effectively with you. 

For all of your illustration and case design needs, please continue to contact our National Sales Support team from 8:30 to 7:00 p.m. ET at 888-266-7498, option 2. Our Advanced Markets team can be reached at that same number by choosing option 3. We will do our utmost to keep your sales moving forward by working with you to process the cases in your pipeline and to help you develop and place new sales opportunities.

In the meantime, our senior leadership team is monitoring the COVID-19 situation constantly so that John Hancock is ready to respond rapidly as conditions evolve. I will notify you as quickly as possible of any updates to our Distribution support to best serve you during this challenging time. Please also watch for upcoming communications from other areas of our business that will give you key information to support sales and services from their purview. In addition, we will be emailing policy owners to ensure them of John Hancock’s financial strength and our commitment to providing uninterrupted service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, thank you for your business with John Hancock. For more details on the steps we have taken to mitigate any operational disruption to our business, please check here. And most importantly, be safe and stay healthy. 

Susan Ghalili

VP, Underwriting Transformation, Chief Underwriter

As the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, John Hancock Underwriting remains focused on continuing to deliver critical services and solutions to our customers. To that end, we want to share with you how our underwriters are assessing your applications at this time.

We will continue to follow our guidelines related to the evidence required to complete the underwriting process, including paramedical exams where indicated. To the extent our vendors are still offering paramedical exams in your area, please be assured that these vendors are taking extra precautions as they relate to conducting their business and completing insurance specimen testing, including following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s interim guidance. They have also stepped-up safety precautions to safeguard the health and integrity of our customers. That said, we understand that some of your clients may be uncomfortable being in close contact with other individuals, including paramedical examiners. If paramedical exams are not available in your area, or if your client is uncomfortable completing an exam, please contact the underwriter on your case so that we can determine how we might obtain the required evidence without necessitating the presence of an examiner in their home, for example by ensuring you are taking full advantage of our non-invasive underwriting process eligibility or through evidence obtained from an applicant’s physician.

Further, due to the global impact of COVID-19, guidance from the U.S. Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad and not to travel by cruise ship at this time. Consistent with this State Department guidance, we offer the following update applicable to all new and pending applications:

  • We will require a statement in the “Special Instructions” box in Part I, Section L of the application indicating whether or not each proposed insured or any household member has within the past 30 days traveled or resided outside of the U.S. or has traveled by cruise ship, or has come into close contact with anyone known to the insured to have tested positive for COVID-19. If travel has occurred, we would also expect the statement to indicate where they traveled and when they returned. If an affirmative or negative responsive statement is not included in the application for each proposed insured, we may ask for an application amendment.
  • As a reminder, any consultations with medical professionals or completed or pending tests by a proposed insured that are related to COVID-19 should be disclosed in response to the relevant questions on the application and/or supplemental application forms.
  • In some cases, we may choose to defer an underwriting decision for a period of time (e.g., 30 days).

Due to the rapid changes arising from this pandemic, we are continuously monitoring the updates published by the U.S. Department of State, CDC, as well as local, state or other federal agencies. We will provide additional updates as new information becomes available.

During times like these, open communication with our business partners is key. We are poised to address any questions you have or unique situations that may arise — please don’t hesitate to contact us at any time. Thank you for your business as we continue to work together to meet this challenge. We are doing our utmost to limit the disruption to your cases, while also being prudent in our approach as needed.

Advanced Markets: Planning in times of uncertainty

Our financial strength5

We have learned lessons from each experience that have made us more prepared and better equipped to work through the current global pandemic and continue to process new business, pay claims and support your success.

A.M. Best A+

(2nd highest of 13 ratings) Superior ability to meet ongoing insurance obligations

Standard & Poor's AA-

(4th highest of 21 ratings) Very strong financial security characteristics

Moody's A1

(5th highest of 21 ratings) Obligations are subject to low credit risk

Fitch AA-

(4th highest of 19 ratings) Very strong capacity to meet policyholder and contract obligations

Roy Gori holds virtual fireside chat with TD Securities

Roy Gori
President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife

Roy Gori participated in a virtual fireside chat with Mario Mendonca from TD Securities Inc. to discuss how the Company has positioned itself through its strategic priorities to navigate turbulent times. Listen to Roy Gori's chat with TD Securities

Access your book of business and our complete suite of offerings at JHSalesHub.com

Archived communications

Spotlight news
COVID-19 and doing business with John Hancock
May 27th, 2020

Important updates
John Hancock Underwriting and COVID-19
May 7th, 2020

New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS)
Emergency Regulations
April 27th, 2020

Important updates
John Hancock Underwriting and COVID-19
April 8th, 2020

Spotlight news
COVID-19 and doing business with John Hancock
April 1st, 2020

A message from
Brooks Tingle
March 24th, 2020

Spotlight news
COVID-19 and doing business with John Hancock
March 23rd, 2020

A message from
Susan Ghalili
March 19th, 2020

A message from
Marianne Harrison
March 17th, 2020

A message from
Linda Levyne
March 17th, 2020

Customer notification
New York Emergency Regulations
April 27th, 2020

A message from
New Mexico Superintendent of Insurance
March 27th, 2020

A message regarding
Vitality program modification
March 19th, 2020

A message to
Our Vitality members
March 18th, 2020

A message to
Our life insurance customers
March 18th, 2020

A message to
Our long-term care customers
March 18th, 2020

A message to
Our annuities customers
March 18th, 2020

A message to
Our customers
March 18th, 2020

 Support during challenging times.

We’re also helping the communities in which we operate, and we’ve made donations of supplies and resources in some of the hardest hit areas, including a donation to the Boston Resiliency Fund.

1. The travel question does not apply to cases in the state of New York.

2. Subject to underwriting.

3. ExpressTrack is not available in the state of New York

4. Eligibility criteria: Member’s Policy Anniversary must occur between March 15, 2020 – June 30, 2020 and member must have completed a biometric screening through engagement with the John Hancock Vitality program in the previous Policy Year (not through underwriting). Consequently, members whose Policy Anniversary had already passed may have their Vitality Status retroactively adjusted. Additional Rider Credits (for permanent policies) or premium refunds (for term policies) may be owed for achieving a higher Vitality Status in the prior Policy Year. Any additional Rider Credits or premium refunds will be issued in the coming weeks.

5. Financial strength ratings, which are current as of March 31, 2020, and are subject to change, apply to John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York as a measure of each company’s financial ability to pay claims and to honor any guarantees provided by the contract and any applicable optional riders. The ratings are not an assessment or recommendation of specific products, policy provisions, premium rates, performance of the products, the value of any investment in these products upon withdrawal, individual securities held in any portfolio, or to the practices of the insurance company. Financial strength ratings do not apply to the safety and performance of separate accounts.

Vitality is the provider of the John Hancock Vitality Program in connection with policies issued by John Hancock.

The benefits available under Aspire can vary depending on whether the insured has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the type and coverage amount of the life insurance policy purchased and the level of Onduo engagement with the John Hancock Vitality Program. Eligibility for an Onduo membership is also subject to Onduo’s qualification requirements. Certain aspects of Aspire may change over time. There is no coordination between Aspire and any health benefits you may receive from an insurance policy, health plan, or any other wellness programs you may be enrolled in. Aspire is not available in New York, Washington, Idaho and Puerto Rico.


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