A crystal ball, with NIH COVID-19 mage, with 2021 added by Allison Bell of ALM (Credit: Thinkstock-LHP)

Executives at Globe Life say the company is continuing to assume that it will incur about $2 million in life insurance claims for every 10,000 in U.S. COVID-19-related deaths.

The McKinney, Texas-based life insurer is assuming, in midpoint projections, that the total number of U.S. COVID-19-related deaths for 2020 will increase to about 280,000 by the end of the year, from 225,000 today.

The company is assuming that COVID-19 will kill about 100,000 to 220,000 people in the United States in 2021, with a midpoint assumption of 160,000.

Resources

Globe Life executives talked about how they see the COVID-19 pandemic during a conference call they held to go over the company’s earnings for the third quarter. The executives may reflect what executives at many companies are thinking when they try to project the future of the pandemic.

Globe Life executives emphasized that the actual 2021 COVID-19 mortality figures will reflect factors that are hard to determine, such as progress with efforts to develop a vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19.

The third quarter started July 1 and ended Sept. 30.

Earnings

Globe Life is reporting $189 million in net income for the third quarter on $1.2 billion in revenue, compared with $202 million in net income on $1.1 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2019.

Here’s what happened to premium revenue for the company’s three main lines of business:

  • Life Insurance: $674 million (up 7%)
  • Health Insurance: $288 million (up 7%)
  • Annuity: $1 million (Down 67%)

Here’s what happened to new net sales:

  • Life Insurance: $128 million (up 21%)
  • Health Insurance: $45 million (flat)

Globe Life relies heavily on sales through a traditional agent sales network as well as through direct-to-consumer programs.

The total number of agents increased 20% between the third quarter of 2019 and the end of the latest quarter, to 13,626. The number of new agents increased 25%, to 9,716.

The number of agents who stuck with Globe Life increased 9.1%, to 3,910, in spite of the effects of COVID-19 social distancing rules and underwriting restrictions on the sales process.

“We continue to see a significant pool of candidates, due in part to current unemployment levels,” Larry Hutchison, the company’s co-chief executive officer, said during the conference call.

Globe Life focuses mainly on selling life insurance policies aimed at middle-income consumers.

Hutchison said sales of life insurance through the company’s direct-to-consumer operation increased 50% between the third quarter of 2019 and the latest quarter.

“Time of crisis highlight the need for basic life insurance protection,” Hutchison said.

Globe Life executives said the nature of the company’s products and investment portfolio make the company resistant to the current low interest rate environment.

One securities analyst asked during the call about the possibility that some recent purchasers of life insurance might have known they were at high risk for dying from COVID-19.

Frank Svoboda, Globe Life’s chief financial officer, said that 98% of known COVID-19-related claims have involved policies issued before 2019.

The company has received just eight claims on policies issued after March 31, for just $42,000 in death benefits. Svoboda said.

— Read Q3 Life, Health and Annuity Earnings Season Calendaron ThinkAdvisor.

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