COVID boosts life insurance demand

A hospital room.

A hospital room. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Here are three of the week’s top pieces of financial insight, gathered from around the web:

COVID boosts life insurance demand

Demand for life insurance has soared since 2020, said Kate Dore at insurance-underwriting.html?&qsearchterm=ways%20Covid%20may%20be%20affecting%20mortality” data-ylk=”slk:CNBC” class=”link “CNBC, and insurers are shelling out more than they have in decades. “Payouts to beneficiaries rose by nearly 11 percent in 2021, jumping to over $100 billion.” That was after the largest year-over-year jump in payments since the 1918 influenza epidemic, according to insurers. The demand for protection keeps growing three years into the pandemic, even as underwriters are re-evaluating their terms. There’s “ongoing debate” on the “ways COVID may be affecting mortality,” particularly for those with pre-existing conditions or who may be suffering from symptoms of “long COVID.” COVID inquiries have begun appearing on life insurance applications, including “questions about your history of testing positive.”

Pepsi’s hardcore training program

Only McKinsey and General Electric have produced more of today’s Fortune 500 chief executives than PepsiCo’s total of 16, said Phil Wahba in Fortune. The secret to its success is a system built around developing “hi-pos,” or the “highest performers” based on manager evaluations and other performance metrics. A Pepsi high-po “isn’t limited to aspiring senior managers. A truck driver can also be a high-po.” But high-pos aren’t told formally “whether they’ve been chosen for a faster track.” Those identified as upper-management material are “put through a rigorous, yearslong training program in many aspects of Pepsi’s operations” that puts a premium on risk-taking and “fast decision-making skills.”

Weak link in COVID aid fraud

Fintech startups collected billions in fees for facilitating pandemic loans while turning a blind eye to rampant fraud, said Tony Romm in covid-relief-fraud/” data-ylk=”slk:The Washington Post” class=”link

Read the rest Continue Reading

Life-Insurance Payouts Hit Record $100 Billion in 2021

U.S. life insurers paid a record $100 billion in 2021 in death benefits, fueled by another year of Covid-19 deaths, an industry trade group said.

Payouts rose 11% in 2021 to $100.19 billion, most likely due to the pandemic, according to the American Council of Life Insurers. The increase was on the heels of a 15% year-over-year rise in 2020, when death-benefit payments totaled $90.43 billion.

The ACLI compiles data from annual filings by insurers to state insurance departments. Given limitations in the filings, the group can’t break down causes of death, but it is reasonable to attribute the bulk of the increases to the pandemic, said

Andrew Melnyk,

ACLI vice president of research and chief economist.

The year-over-year increases are among the largest since the 1918 flu pandemic, when payments surged 41%. They are far above the 4.9% average from 2011 to 2021, the ACLI said.

Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. jumped 20% in 2021 to approximately 460,000, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths trended younger as the Delta variant raced through the country, though older Americans still largely were the victims.

The Delta deaths substantially boosted payouts under employers’ benefit programs, though most of the $100 billion came from individually owned policies, according to ACLI data.

Myrna Guerrero,

a national sales director for

Primerica Inc.,

one of the nation’s biggest sellers of term-life policies, said it was tragic last year to see young families hit with Covid-19 deaths. In two instances of term-life policies sold by her Phoenix-area office, policyholders left behind three or more children.

“Obviously, we won’t take the pain away of losing somebody, but financially they will be OK,” Ms. Guerrero

Read the rest Continue Reading

California law student defying COVID vaccine mandate sues school, claiming it’s making him abandon legal career

A Santa Clara University law student defying the school’s COVID vaccination requirements filed a lawsuit this week claiming the school is blocking him from moving to a different law school for a degree.

Ryan Driggs, who does not have a lawyer for the case and is representing himself, alleged in the suit that the university, after barring him from registering for classes, is denying his transcript requests in order to keep him from “securing the economic advantages completion of his legal education would bring.” Driggs, of San Jose, claimed the purported moves by the school will push him into a “substantially less prestigious and remunerative vocation.”

The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

Driggs started at Santa Clara Law in 2020, and the conditions of his enrollment did not include a COVID vaccine or booster, his suit filed Thursday in Santa Clara County Superior Court said.

The university in April 2021 mandated that students be vaccinated against COVID by the fall 2021 term. In December, a booster mandate was added. Both orders allowed for medical exemptions. In a March court filing from a similar lawsuit by two Santa Clara University undergraduates and a prominent anti-vaccination group, the school’s campus physician said he had reviewed 28 exemption requests, granted six on a permanent basis and two on a temporary basis, with four pending and 16 denied.

Driggs said in his suit that he did not “consent to or comply with” the vaccination or booster requirements. His suit did not provide reasons for his non-compliance. He claimed in the suit that he repeatedly reached out to the university in an attempt to resolve the issue. “When he requested to be put in contact with a person who had the authority to modify Santa Clara University’s

Read the rest Continue Reading