Covid-19 has cost 13 of Canada’s biggest insurers about $500 million on nearly 9,500 individual and group life claims, according to a new report.
From January 2020 to June 2022, carriers participating in a Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) analysis paid $424.1 million on 7,040 individual claims and $75 million on 2,437 group claims arising from Covid-19.
“At the peak of the second wave in January 2021, individual life insurance claims due to Covid-19 reached 11% of total claims by count and 9% of total claims by amount — second only to April 2020 in terms of Covid-19 impact on claims,” the report said.
The impact on life insurance claims during the Omicron waves beginning in December 2021 was less pronounced, with a peak of 7.5% in January 2022 for individual insurance and 3.5% in February 2022 for group insurance.
Claims decreased after the first quarter of 2022, the CIA said. Though a reporting lag will probably cause an increase in the level of claims in Q2 2022, the organization said this report would be its final one in the series.
The CIA expects excess deaths and life insurance claims to be lower going forward, even though more Covid-19 waves are likely.
In June, the most recent month covered in the reports, the 13 participating insurers — including Canada Life, Manulife, Sun Life, RBC and Industrial Alliance — paid a total of $2.6 million on 34 individual life claims, down from $9.1 million on 139 claims in May.
The month with the highest number of individual life claims (906) arising from Covid-19 was April 2020, when the sample insurers paid $41.5 million. The costliest month for individual claims was May 2021 ($54.3 million) with a claims count of 275, the report said.
In group life insurance, the carriers paid $1.3 million on 30 Covid-19 claims in June, up from $1.2 million on 56 claims in May. This compares to a peak of $6.9 million on 242 group life claims arising from the disease in January 2021, the report said.
“The data analyzed in this Covid-19 report series will help actuaries better understand and manage the impact of the pandemic on insurance companies,” said report author Nicolas Genois, chair of the CIA Research Council’s Experience Research Committee, in the release.