Life Application Activity Cools Again

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2022/05/10/life-application-activity-cools-again/

Excerpt:

Policygenius, a life insurance web broker, uses its term life pricing information to provide monthly term life price index reports.

The company bases the index on prices for coverage with a 20-year-level premium term.

The lowest price shown is for coverage for a 25-year-old female nonsmoker who wants $250,000 in death benefits; The highest price is for a 55-year-old male smoker who wants $1 million in death benefits.

Policygenius figures suggest rising premiums may not be causing life application friction.

This month, the lowest price in the tables fell slightly, to $14.21, from $14.25 last month.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 10 May 2022

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Rise in Non-Covid-19 Deaths Hits Life Insurers

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/rise-in-non-covid-19-deaths-hits-life-insurers-11645576252

Graphic:

Excerpt:

U.S. life insurers, as expected, made a large number of Covid-19 death-benefit payouts last year. More surprisingly, many saw a jump in other death claims, too.

Industry executives and actuaries believe many of these other fatalities are tied to delays in medical care as a result of lockdowns in 2020, and then, later, people’s fears of seeking out treatment and trouble lining up appointments.

…..

Primerica executives similarly cautioned in their fourth-quarter call about outsize numbers of non-Covid-19 deaths in 2022. “Some of these will be the result of delayed medical care or the increased incidence of societal-related issues, such as the increased prevalence of substance abuse,” Chief Financial Officer Alison Rand said in an email interview.

From early stages of the pandemic, many medical professionals have raised concerns about Americans’ untreated health problems, as Covid-19 put stress on the nation’s healthcare system.

Trade group American Council of Life Insurers said the pandemic in 2020 drove the biggest annual increase in death benefits paid by U.S. carriers since the 1918 influenza epidemic, totaling billions of dollars. The hit to the industry’s bottom line has been less than initially feared, however, because many victims have been older people who typically have smaller policies, if any coverage.

Still, Covid-19 and other excess deaths have cut into many carriers’ quarterly earnings, especially as deaths linked to the Delta variant increased for people in their working years with employer-sponsored death benefits. “Earnings impacts have been material and there still appears to be some Covid-19 discount, but investors are starting to look through mortality claims costs,” said Andrew Kligerman, a stock analyst with Credit Suisse Securities.

Author(s): Leslie Scism

Publication Date: 23 Feb 2022

Publication Site: WSJ

COVID-19 Deaths Cause More Than $700M in Q1 Claims

Link: https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2022/05/09/covid-19-deaths-continue-to-hit-life-insurers-hard/

Excerpt:

COVID-19 returned to killing older Americans at a much higher rate than younger Americans in the first quarter, and that helped to hold down life insurers’ death claims.

The pandemic killed about 155,000 U.S. residents in the latest quarter. That was up from 127,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021, but down from 191,000 in the first quarter of 2021, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public and private sources.

Some life insurers and reinsurers that posted earnings last week skipped COVID-19 mortality details.

…..

MetLife: $230 million in world group life claims this quarter, down from $280 million a year earlier.

Hartford Financial: $96 million before taxes this quarter, down from $185 million a year earlier.

Unum: 1,400 deaths at an average of $55,000, or $77 million, down from 1,725 deaths at an average of $65,000, or $112 million, a year earlier.

Lincoln Financial: $53 million in group life claim claims and $18 million in group disability claims this quarter, down from $83 million in group life claims and $7 million in group disability claims a year earlier.

Voya: $35 million in group life claims this quarter, up from $29 million a year earlier.

Author(s): Allison Bell

Publication Date: 9 May 2022

Publication Site: Think Advisor

Report: Thousands of Canadians Died Due to Delayed Care during COVID-19

Link: https://fee.org/articles/report-thousands-of-canadians-died-due-to-delayed-care-during-covid-19/

Graphic:

Excerpt:

A new report commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) looks at the broader health impacts of COVID-19 in Canada. The November report, called A Struggling System, explores a range of growing problems, from mental health issues to substance abuse and deteriorating social determinants of health. Sadly, the report also confirms a fact that many have suspected since the beginning: that delays in care have led to thousands of preventable deaths.

“Although it is not surprising that more Canadians died in 2020 than in a typical year,” the authors write, “the number of excess deaths was greater than can be explained by COVID-19 alone. While there may be several drivers of these excess deaths, delayed or missed care due to shutdowns of services and lack of sufficient capacity in overburdened health systems may be a contributing factor.”

After analyzing the data, the authors estimated that delayed and missed health care contributed to more than 4,000 excess deaths not related to COVID-19 between August and December 2020. Needless to say, the total number of preventable deaths over the pandemic to date is likely much higher.

Author(s): Patrick Carroll

Publication Date: 8 Dec 2021

Publication Site: FEE

MetLife’s Earnings Surge, but Covid-19 Limits Insurer’s Latest Results

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/metlifes-earnings-surge-but-covid-19-limits-insurers-latest-results-11643844316

Excerpt:

High levels of Covid-19 deaths hurt fourth-quarter results in MetLife Inc.’s business of providing employer-sponsored life insurance as the Delta variant persisted in the U.S., but the outsize payouts were more than offset by unusually strong investment gains.

The New York company’s net income soared to $1.18 billion, compared with a year-earlier period that had been hurt by mark-to-market losses on financial hedges that aim to protect against falling interest rates. MetLife’s adjusted earnings, which analysts track as a measure of recurring profitability, were flat at $1.84 billion.

Another household-name insurer, Allstate Corp., reported a 70% drop in net income to $790 million, and a 50% decline in adjusted net income to $796 million, primarily driven by worsened car-insurance underwriting income. Accident volume increased on more-crowded roads, and inflation pushed repair costs higher.

Catastrophe costs were also higher. U.S. property insurers ended the year with two high-profile catastrophes: deadly tornadoes in and around Kentucky, and devastating wildfire between Denver and Boulder, Colo.

Author(s): Leslie Scism

Publication Date: 2 Feb 2022

Publication Site: WSJ

Are Seat Belts Making You Less Safe?

Link: https://fee.org/articles/are-seat-belts-making-you-less-safe/

Excerpt:

In the 1960s, the federal government—in its infinite wisdom—thought that cars were too unsafe for the general public. In response, it passed automobile safety legislation, requiring that seat belts, padded dashboards, and other safety measures be put in every automobile.

Although well-intended, auto accidents actually increased after the legislation was passed and enforced. Why? As Lansburg explains, “the threat of being killed in an accident is a powerful incentive to drive carefully.”

In other words, the high price (certain death from an accident) of an activity (reckless driving) reduced the likelihood of that activity. The safety features reduced the price of reckless driving by making cars safer. For example, seatbelts reduced the likelihood of a driver being hurt if he drove recklessly and got into an accident. Because of this, drivers were more likely to drive recklessly.

The benefit of the policy was that it reduced the number of deaths per accident. The cost of the policy was that it increased the number of accidents, thus canceling the benefit. Or at least, that is the conclusion of University of Chicago’s Sam Peltzman, who found the two effects canceled each other.

His work has led to a theory called “The Peltzman Effect,” also known as risk compensation. Risk compensation says that safety requirements incentivize people to increase risky behavior in response to the lower price of that behavior.

Author(s): Joshua Anumolu

Publication Date: 13 July 2017

Publication Site: FEE

Seat Belt Usage and Risk Taking in Driving Behavior

Link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/44633774

Graphic:

Abstract:

This study tested the hypothesis that seat belt usage is related to driver risk taking in car-following behavior. Individual vehicles on a Detroit area freeway were monitored to identify seat belt users and nonusers. Headways between successive vehicles in the traffic stream were also measured to provide a behavioral indicator of driver risk taking. Results showed that nonusers of seat belts tended to follow other vehicles closer than did users. Users were also less likely than nonusers to follow other vehicles at very short headways (one second or less). The implications of these findings for occupant safety in rear end collisions are discussed.

Author(s): Buseck, Calvin R. von, Leonard Evans, Donald E. Schmidt, and Paul Wasielewski

Publication Date: 1980

Publication Site: jstor, originally published in SAE Transactions, vol 89

Cite:

von Buseck, Calvin R., et al. “Seat Belt Usage and Risk Taking in Driving Behavior.” SAE Transactions, vol. 89, 1980, pp. 1529–33. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/44633774. Accessed 21 May 2022.

Why driving needs to feel less safe

Link: https://ctmirror.org/2022/04/18/why-driving-needs-to-feel-less-safe/

Excerpt:

Motor vehicle fatalities in Connecticut have risen dramatically since the pandemic, echoing a trend that we’ve seen across the country. About 300 people are killed annually on Connecticut’s streets by motor vehicles, and about 100 times as many people (roughly 30,000) suffer injuries severe ePnough to warrant hospital admission.

Nationally, these figures are roughly 40,000 deaths and 3.4 million injuries per year. The U.S. is an outlier among developed countries in the number  of deaths that we tolerate on our roads, with a death rate 2 to 3 times that of similarly wealthy countries. The human cost of this carnage leaves no one untouched: almost everyone knows at least one person killed by a vehicle, not to mention millions of others who suffer from life-altering consequences like paralysis and traumatic brain injuries.

If we truly care about saving lives and preventing injuries, we need to change the mindset by which we view the act of driving.

Author(s): Dice Oh

Publication Date: 18 April 2022

Publication Site: CT Mirror

Event: Risk-Based Rating in Personal Lines Insurance

Link: https://www.rstreet.org/2022/04/05/event-risk-based-rating-in-personal-lines-insurance/

Screenshot:

Video:

Excerpt:

The insurance industry is unique in that the cost of its products—insurance policies—is unknown at the time of sale. Insurers calculate the price of their policies with “risk-based rating,” wherein risk factors known to be correlated with the probability of future loss are incorporated into premium calculations. One of these risk factors employed in the rating process for personal automobile and homeowner’s insurance is a credit-based insurance score.

Credit-based insurance scores draw on some elements of the insurance buyer’s credit history. Actuaries have found this score to be strongly correlated with the potential for an insurance claim. The use of credit-based insurance scores by insurers has generated controversy, as some consumer organizations claim incorporating such scores into rating models is inherently discriminatory. R Street’s webinar explores the facts and the history of this issue with two of the most knowledgeable experts on the topic.

Author(s): Jerry Theodorou, Roosevelt Mosley, Mory Katz

Publication Date: 5 April 2022

Publication Site: R Street Institute

Immigration and America’s Aging ‘Time Bomb’

Link: https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/immigration-impacts-americas-aging-time-bomb/

Excerpt:

Anew research model from the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) has brought clarity to the immigration debate in the U.S. by analyzing the macroeconomic implications of different policy scenarios. The model is at the core of a paper titled “Immigration and the Macroeconomy” authored by PWBM experts – Efraim Berkovich, director of computational dynamics; Daniela Costa, economist; and Austin Herrick, senior analyst.

“We find that, after an initial period, increasing legal immigration improves both the government’s fiscal balance and the economy on a per-capita basis,” the paper stated. “Legalization policies [or regularizing undocumented immigrants], on the other hand, worsen the government’s fiscal balance due to increased spending, while having modest effects on the economy broadly.” Lawful immigrants receive government transfers over their lifetime such as Social Security benefits, Medicaid, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); if they are not sufficiently productive, they create a “retirement benefits imbalance,” the paper pointed out.

The legalization plan the paper modeled is similar to the legalization provisions in the Biden immigration plan. That plan was akin to “a one-shot legalization for people who are already in the U.S.,” said Herrick.

Author(s): Shankar Parameshwaran

Publication Date: 15 March 2022

Publication Site: Wharton at Penn

CT poised to pay down $3.6 billion in pension debt

Link: https://ctmirror.org/2022/05/20/ct-poised-to-pay-down-3-6-billion-in-pension-debt/

Excerpt:

Connecticut is poised to deposit an extra $3.6 billion in its cash-starved pension funds when the fiscal year closes in June, after tax revenues surged yet again on Friday.

Those supplemental payments would be on top of the $2.9 billion in required contributions Connecticut made this fiscal year to pensions for state employees and municipal teachers. 

Those projections were included Friday in the latest monthly budget estimates from Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration, which also forecast a $3.8 billion surplus for the current fiscal year.

Author(s): Keith Phaneuf

Publication Date: 20 May 2022

Publication Site: CT Mirror

Personal Income Rose in 2021, But Growth Varied by State

Link: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2022/05/13/personal-income-rose-in-2021-but-growth-varied-by-state

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Total personal income climbed in every state during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic as the economy continued to recover, with Idaho and South Dakota experiencing the strongest gains. Americans’ earnings from work, which account for the bulk of personal income, recorded the sharpest annual increase in over two decades. Federal aid and other public assistance also added to states’ gains, surpassing 2020’s elevated levels.

Total personal income rose across states in 2021 as the economy largely followed an upward trajectory after severe losses early in the pandemic. Nationally, the sum of personal income from all sources was up 3.1% from 2020, after accounting for inflation.

Author(s): Mike Maciag, Joanna Biernacka-Lievestro & Joe Fleming

Publication Date: 13 May 2022

Publication Site: Pew Trust