What You Need to Know
- RGA executives say vaccines held delta variant mortality down to manageable levels in the United Kingdom.
- The reinsurer expects COVID-19 mortality to be more of a concern in markets, like India, that have had low vaccination rates.
- The company's chief risk officer says Americans with life insurance are probably more likely to be vaccinated than members of the general population are.
Executives at Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) say they are optimistic about the power of vaccines to protect life insurers against deaths caused by COVID-19 virus variants.
Patients suffering from the delta variant strain have been crowding hospitals in places like Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and Texas in recent days.
Federal officials in Washington have warned that the delta variant spreads much more easily than other variants observed to date, and that even vaccinated people who are infected can spread the it.
But Anna Manning, RGA’s CEO, said Tuesday that COVID-19 vaccines have done a good job of holding down the death rate in the United Kingdom and other countries that have faced severe waves of delta variant infections.
“Given the vaccine levels in all our key markets of the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, we expect COVID-19 claims to decline in the second half of the year,” Manning said. “In India and South Africa, we will likely see some continuation in COVID-19 claims through the remainder of the year but at manageable levels.”
RGA has been watching COVID-19 illness and death rates closely because, as a reinsurer, it serves as the insurer for life insurance, health insurance and annuity issuers around the world.
Any big increases in the “direct writers” COVID-19 claims could lead to spikes in the Chesterfield, Missouri-based company’s own claim costs.
Jonathan Porter, RGA’s chief risk officer, observed that the recent delta variant wave in the United Kingdom pushed daily infection counts close to the all-time high, but that the mortality rate associated with that wave was less than 10% of the all-time peak mortality rate.