Liberty Journal

Insurance CEO says deaths up 40% among working age people, and it’s not just COVID

Do not expect to see this reported widely.

The head of OneAmerica insurance said the death rate is up a stunning 40% from pre-pandemic levels among working-age people.

“We are seeing, right now, the highest death rates we have seen in the history of this business – not just at OneAmerica,” the company’s CEO Scott Davison said during an online news conference this week. “The data is consistent across every player in that business.”

OneAmerica is a $100 billion insurance company that has had its headquarters in Indianapolis since 1877. The company has approximately 2,400 employees and sells life insurance, including group life insurance to employers in the state.

Davison said the increase in deaths represents “huge, huge numbers,” and that’s it’s not elderly people who are dying, but “primarily working-age people 18 to 64” who are the employees of companies that have group life insurance plans through OneAmerica.

“And what we saw just in third quarter, we’re seeing it continue into fourth quarter, is that death rates are up 40% over what they were pre-pandemic,” he said.

“Just to give you an idea of how bad that is, a three-sigma or a one-in-200-year catastrophe would be 10% increase over pre-pandemic,” he said. “So 40% is just unheard of.”

Davison was one of several business leaders who spoke during the virtual news conference on Dec. 30 that was organized by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Most of the claims for deaths being filed are not classified as COVID-19 deaths, Davison said.

“What the data is showing to us is that the deaths that are being reported as COVID deaths greatly understate the actual death losses among working-age people from the pandemic. It may not all be COVID on their death certificate, but deaths are up just huge, huge numbers.”

He said at the same time, the company is seeing an “uptick” in disability claims, saying at first it was short-term disability claims, and now the increase is in long-term disability claims.

“For OneAmerica, we expect the costs of this are going to be well over $100 million, and this is our smallest business. So it’s having a huge impact on that,” he said.

He said the costs will be passed on to employers purchasing group life insurance policies, who will have to pay higher premiums.

The CDC weekly death counts, which reflect the information on death certificates and so have a lag of up to eight weeks or longer, show that for the week ending Nov. 6, there were far fewer deaths from COVID-19 in Indiana compared to a year ago – 195 verses 336 – but more deaths from other causes – 1,350 versus 1,319.

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