Life insurers have noticed an unusual jump in the number of deaths of people 18 to 64 years of age, and not just from COVID-19, says Scott Davison, the CEO of OneAmerica, a mutual insurance holding company based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business, said Davison, at an online news conference organized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, on December 30. “The data is consistent across every player in that business.” OneAmerica sells group life insurance plans to employers
Davison said most of the claims were for deaths other than COVID-19.
“And what we saw just in [the] third quarter, we’re seeing it continue into fourth quarter, is that death rates are up 40 percent over what they were pre-pandemic,” said Davison. “Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a three-sigma or a one-in-200-year catastrophe would be 10 percent increase over pre-pandemic,” he said. “So, 40 percent is just unheard of.”
Insurance companies know almost immediately if there are unusual trends in deaths because they pay out claims. Death counts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can take months.
COVID-19 deaths are also higher than ever but there is an explanation for the rise in non-COVID-19 deaths, says Joel Hirschhorn, author of Pandemic Blunder.
“COVID deaths will probably reach one million in the U.S. by the end of March,” said Hirschhorn. “But the government and the media have paid no attention to the many collateral pandemic deaths ranging from lives lost due to reduced health care actions, suicides, homicides, and the many lives lost because of shutdowns, school closings, lost businesses and lost jobs.”