The COVID-19 pandemic has reduced life expectancy, triggering a surge in interest for life insurance…
According to tracking data relating to 1.3m Vitality members, life expectancy has fallen by an average of almost four months (3.8) since the start of the pandemic. This, because the COVID-19 lockdown has led to people taking fewer steps each day.
Between March 16 and March 26, the number of physical events, such as cardio sessions, daily step counts and gym workouts, fell by 28%, compared to the 10-week period between January 6 and March 15.
This was driven, Vitality says, by a significant reduction in the number of its members achieving daily step goals of 7,000, 10,000 or 12,500 while they stayed at home.
Furthermore, people with overall poor health saw their life expectancy drop by five months on average. In contrast, those who were already fit and healthy saw their life expectancy drop by just 2.4 months.
However, it’s not all bad news. The Vitality data also shows that cardio sessions have increased as lockdown measures have eased. In fact, between June 1 and June 28, the number of cardio sessions performed by Vitality members was 45% higher than before the lockdown started, suggesting that people are using its easing to kickstart exercise regimens.
Speaking about the data, Dr Keith Klintworth, managing director of VitalityHealth, said: “With gyms reopening, some people will find it is easier to plan exercise into their lives, but whether it is a gym class, an online workout or walk around the block at lunch, the virus Covid-19 should be a reminder that we must all find time to prioritise our health and wellbeing.”
Interest in life insurance has jumped since start of pandemic
Meanwhile, separate data has revealed that the pandemic has triggered more people to investigate life insurance.
According to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) data, sales of life insurance policies were down 26% in the last five years. However, interest in the product has jumped since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in March this year.
Indeed, the FCA data showed life insurance sales fell from 478,745 in 2015/16 to 353,194 in 2019/20 in the personal investment space. The value of premiums paid each year also fell from £7.6bn to £4.3bn over the same period.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a spike in the life insurance market, as people look to ensure their dependents are safeguarded financially should the worst happen. Moreover, providers have started adapting their processes in light of the pandemic’s fallout. For example, many advisers have incorporated COVID-19-related questions into their application process, while individuals that are deemed most at risk have seen their applications placed on hold.
Life insurance is designed to protect the policy holder’s dependents financially in the event of the policy holder’s death. And while life insurance might seem like an unnecessary safeguard for individuals who are still “young”, taking it out early can help lock in lower premiums. This means younger people not only benefit from the protection life insurance provides at an earlier stage in their lives, but also helps them avoid paying higher premiums in the future.
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