A woman in a surgical mask, in an old photo. An elevator operator in New York wears a surgical mask to protect herself from the flu, in 1918. (Credit: NARA)

Many U.S. life and health insurers are adding warnings about the possible effects of the new coronavirus outbreak to their standard “risk factors” lists.

Aflac Inc. says it already has an employee with a confirmed case of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes the Covid-19 pneumonia.

Resources

  • A copy of the preliminary prospectus supplement is available here.
  • An article about how the 1918 flu pandemic affected U.S. insurers is available here.

The Columbus, Georgia-based insurer talks about its experience with dealing with the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in a new preliminary prospectus supplement. Aflac filed the preliminary supplement Wednesday, in connection with plans to raise money by offering notes.

Aflac is best known in the United States for selling products such as accident insurance at the worksite, and for its famous Aflac Duck spokesduck.

Aflac is also a major issuer of cancer insurance and medical insurance in Japan.

Japan has had 381 confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections, and six deaths caused by Covid-19 pneumonia.

Aflac says in the new filing that, on Tuesday, the company found that a temporary staff employee at a call center in Japan was infected with SARS-CoV-2.

“While our operations remain unaffected as of the date of this prospectus supplement, we have undertaken a series of actions to respond to the infection and prevent its spread,” the company says in the filing.

“These include quarantining and monitoring the infected employee and identifying other individuals who may have been in contact with this employee, as well as establishing quarantine procedures for those individuals,” Aflac says.

Aflac says it’s also working with public health authorities to implement measures designed to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

Those measures include staggering work hours, promoting telework, limiting face-to-face meetings and trainings with multiple participants.

In spite of those measures, the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 has been increasingly rapidly around the world, and it may continue to do so, including in ways that are unpredictable, Aflac says.

— Read Actuaries: Flu Could Be Expensive, on ThinkAdvisor.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.