Driven By COVID Deaths, Life Insurance Payouts See Biggest Jump Since 1918 Flu

life insurance

COVID-19 deaths triggered a surge in death benefit payouts by life insurance companies in 2020, increasing by more than 15% over the previous year, according to a Thursday (Dec. 9) Wall Street Journal report.

The death payout uptick was the highest year over year since the 1918 flu epidemic, which resulted in death payment increases that surpassed 40%, according to the report.

In all, 1.8 million worldwide deaths in 2020 were attributed to COVID, according to the World Health Organization. However, the organization said on its website that the actual death toll was likely closer to 3 million last year since some countries lack the technology to properly register deaths.

In the U.S., a reported 385,343 people died of COVID-19 last year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Besides driving more life insurance payouts, COVID-19 has also led to a dramatic increase in life insurance policies in the last 25 years, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As technology and health advancements lead to longer lives for aging populations, more people are concerned about outliving their savings, according to PYMNTS. About 70% of retired individuals will need some form of long-term care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, under one-third of retirees are comfortable with the funds earmarked for such care.

Insurance premiums — like most everything in the wake of the pandemic — continue to rise. A healthy 55-year-old man could pay between $1,375 to $3,685 a year for insurance, while a woman the same age and health could pay $2,150 to $6,400 a year for the same coverage.

Read more: Deep Dive: How Taking Stock of Their Long-Term Care Options Can Help Consumers Prepare for Retirement and Beyond

In addition to the physical ramifications of the pandemic, COVID-19 has negatively impacted people’s mental health. In response, CVS Health earlier this year began offering access to licensed clinical social workers via virtual or in-person sessions. Counseling was rolled out at select locations in Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas, with plans to expand to additional locations.

See also: COVID-Related Stress and Rising Demand See CVS Expand into Mental Health Counseling