What You Need to Know
- Almost all COVID-19 life insurance claims were for people ages 45 or older.
- Insureds in their 70s had the worst overall increase in claims.
- The numbers for older smokers may shock you.
The first big wave of U.S. COVID-19 cases may have increased the odds of dying more for healthy older people with individual life insurance than for older insureds with chronic health problems.
The pandemic also may have increased the odds of older nonsmoker insureds dying more than of older smoker insureds dying.
The Individual Life COVID-19 Project Work Group has published data raising those possibilities in a new report, U.S. Individual Life COVID-19 Mortality Claims Analysis. The Society of Actuaries, LIMRA, Reinsurance Group of America Inc. and TAI are the paper sponsors, and they hold the copyright on the paper.
The research team started with information on 2.5 million U.S. individual life insurance claims that were sent to 27 U.S. life insurers from January 2015 through June 2020.
The team excluded information about deaths occurring after June 30 to minimize the impact of data reporting lags. It is planning to publish a sequel, based on more complete data, in the coming months.
The team found that deaths attributed to COVID-19 accounted for 5.1% of the individual life insurance death claims participating insurers received in the first half of 2020.
About 2% of all of claims for all causes were for people younger than 45. That was about the same percentage as in 2019.
About 1% of the COVID-19-related claims submitted in the first half of 2020 were for people under 45.
The overall increase in the odds of dying from any cause was highest for insureds in their 70s.