Industry Insights

While COVID-19 has shown little sign of slowing in America in the past few months and the market remains volatile, one sector that has stayed relatively stable has been that of life insurance. High demand for coverage continues. Companies maintain social distancing standards by offering virtual applications. The most significant changes since our last update in March have been to the underwriting process, though these changes vary greatly by carrier provider. Here are some of the details:

DEMAND IS STILL HIGH FOR LIFE INSURANCE

The spike in policy demand that started in late February and early March has shown no sign of letting up in the months since. No matter where you turn, people are still looking to buy life insurance, as evidenced by a 25%­–50% increase in Google searches for the term compared to the past several years. This also indicates that many who already had coverage before the outbreak of COVID-19 are seeking to further understand their own policies as well.

This drive to understand and purchase life insurance has led to higher conversion rates, with term insurance appearing to have the largest increase in purchasing. Policies with living benefits or indexed products have also proven helpful at this time for emergency funds or protection against market downturn. Whatever your needs may be, now is more important than ever to make sure your family is protected, especially as healthy applicants have not seen too much rise in rates yet — something that may or may not change as more states adjust to reopening.

WEIGHING YOUR OPTIONS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

In the past few months, some of the most significant changes have come from the underwriting process of various companies. For example, some carriers may restrict individuals who test positive for COVID-19 from purchasing coverage until they’ve tested negative again. Travel rules have also changed for some — certain companies have put a pause on applications from people who have traveled within the last 30 days. Additionally, it may be harder for people over 70 to get covered, with or without prior medical conditions.

Every company is different, and these changes in underwriting vary between carriers. Rates are also likely to fluctuate between separate insurance carriers, even for applicants with identical medical histories and other conditions. One company may dismiss your application while another gives you an incredible rate. There are some silver linings; for example, with the widespread adoption of virtual applications, some companies have forgone medical exams in order to adhere to social distancing rules for policies which previously required them. These policies can carry much lower rates, and this flexibility from these carriers can be a great benefit for customers.

With this type of variability between providers, independent brokers like FFS occupy a special position in the industry by letting customers shop between a variety of carriers and rates before committing to a policy. By allowing you to see and compare prices and products before buying, agents like ours give you the ability to find satisfactory coverage that meets most, if not all, of your needs.