COVID-19 pandemic creating greater demand for life, health insurance

Aetna-Business Sale
Posted at 4:19 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 14:42:13-04

As the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation thousands have been purchasing life insurance policies to protect their loved ones. But in the midst of the pandemic, there have been additional factors companies have implemented when screening applicants. 23ABC's Bayan Wang spoke to an insurance expert to find out more about those changes.

The biggest factor insurance companies are looking for right now is whether someone has tested positive for the coronavirus. But even then you still can get full term life insurance - that is if you're not older than the age of 70.

As COVID-19 continues to surge across the nation - claiming nearly 150,000 lives - the interest in life insurance policies has also surged, according to Jennifer Fitzgerald, the CEO of Policygenius, an online marketplace for life insurance.

"We're seeing higher demand for life insurance across all consumer demographics. So older shoppers are looking for life insurance, younger shoppers in their 30s and 40s are looking for life insurance," sad Fiztgerald. "We've absolutely seen an increase."

But an increase in policies for senior citizens is less apparent because of the pandemic.

"We have seen life insurance companies stop accepting applications for older shoppers over the age of 70 because they are a higher risk group for COVID-19," explained Fitzgerald.

The number of cases for other age groups has also been apparent. In Kern County, more than 1,200 cases have been confirmed for ages 17 and under and nearly 7,000 people between 18 and 49 have also tested positive. These groups will also face barriers to purchasing life insurance, according to Fitzgerald.

"If you have COVID-19 you have to wait until you are symptom-free and are over the disease and have a negative test result. Typically the waiting period is 30 to 40 days after you have tested negative you can apply for life insurance."

According to Jose Reyes, an insurance agent in East Bakersfield, applying for life insurance is critical for ceratin demographics that have been affected by the virus at higher rates. Reyes pointed out that more than 50 percent of positive cases in the county are in Hispanic communities.

"There is a lot of people in the Hispanic community that does not have life insurance or health insurance. We are trying to educate our people, our Hispanic community to get life insurance or health insurance because it is really important," said Reyes.

According to Fitzgerald a huge misconception that a lot of people have is that policies are getting more expensive because of the demand but that's not true. She said it is quite the opposite: more competition between companies is driving costs down.