COVID-19: the first two waves affected mortality

A report from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) reveals that in 2020 and 2021, applications for individual insurance claims increased since 2019 due to COVID-19. The ICA adds that the first two waves of the pandemic had notable impacts in this regard.

Titled Monthly Analysis of Canadian Insurance Industry Aggregate Data on COVID-19, it is the fourth CIA report looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individual life insurance claims. The report presents updated data until the end of May 2021, specifies the body for the qualification and governance of actuaries.

The pandemic in 3 waves

The report contains statistics on the general population. Remember that during the 16 months from March 2020 to May 2021, Canada experienced three separate waves of COVID-19-related infections and deaths. It notes that the first wave peaked in early May 2020. “Although lower than the next two waves in terms of new cases, it was the highest wave in terms of excess mortality in the general population,” perhaps read. The report includes data from Statistics Canada showing that excess mortality approached 1,450 deaths in May 2020.

The second wave was longer in overall duration, the report also notes. Therefore, excess mortality increased in the final months of 2020 and peaked in January 2021, but was lower than in May 2020, according to Statistics Canada data.

“During the third wave, which peaked in terms of new cases in late April 2021, the overall excess mortality in the Canadian population was lower. This may be due, at least in part, to the early impact of the vaccine launch in the country, ”the report’s authors write.

The effect on the insured population

At the height of the second wave in January 2021, individual insurance claims related to COVID-19 reached 11% of total claims by number and 9% of total claims by amount, reveals the report of the actuaries of the Canadian Institute. The authors explain that this is the biggest impact of COVID-19 on claims, after the April 2020 summit.

According to the report, the impact of the pandemic was weaker on group insurance claims. However, the ICA says it noticed some impacts during the second half of 2020 and early 2021. It adds that the second wave was more widespread than the first.

“The levels of group insurance claims in March, April and May 2021 were lower than those observed during the same period in 2020 and 2019. However, given the lag in the declaration of certain claims, it is reasonable to assume that the level of claims during these months will increase as requests for additional complaints are reported, ”the CIA report explains.

In its report, the CIA explains that reports based on the actual date of death help better analyze the impact of the pandemic over time. The report shows that from 2019 to 2021, 11 participating insurers reported their individual life insurance benefits based on the actual date of the insured’s death, and two did so based on when they were informed of the death. In group insurance, 11 reported them according to the actual date of death and 1 according to the time when death was declared. Twelve of the 13 insurers have separated COVID-19-related deaths from the rest.

Of the 13 insurance companies that participated in this report, eleven of them carry out group insurance activities. In general, the participating insurers are Canada Life, Manulife, Sun Life, The Co-operator, Foresters, RBC Assurances, iA Financial Group, Assumption Life, Equitable Life Insurance, Humania Assurance, SSQ Insurance and La Capitale (grouped in Beneva), as well as Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company.

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