Insurance and Annuities: Covid-19 Impact and Communication

Goals

To understand how companies offering insurance and annuities are impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, how financial planning is impacted by a crisis, and how Crump's competitors are reacting to the crisis. This information will be used to inform and guide clients in the industry.

Early Findings

Impact of COVID-19 On Life Insurance and Annuity Industry

  • Consumer interest in life insurance appears to be remaining strong during the COVID-19 crisis. Ethos, an online life insurance company, has seen an increase in applications during the crisis.
  • Interest rate declines are impacting the interest-rate sensitive life and annuity industry, causing insurers to modify products by increasing prices for interest-sensitive products, trimming benefits, or in some cases, ending sales of specific products.
  • While life and annuity sales are expected to see a temporary, one-time increase due to the lower interest rate environment, longer-term prospects for growth may be more limited.
  • The Insurance Information Institute noted in its Quarter 1 "Global Macro Outlook" that "COVID-19’s impact on global growth and the insurance industry is likely deeper and wider than the current consensus and could last well into the third quarter and beyond".

Impact of COVID-19 on Financial Planning

  • For current retirees who have a financial strategy in place, this crisis should, in theory, not impact their financial planning, as it should have been designed with risks, such as this, in mind. For those who are retiring in 10 years or more, some adjustments to their plan may be warranted, though 'cashing out' is not recommended. Younger investors may use this crisis as an opportunity to build their financial plan.
  • Investors not using financial advisors may be more at risk, as they may not have a strategy designed to accommodate such a crisis.
  • A survey by Fidelity in 2017 showed that 25% of consumers changed to a more conservative investment strategy after the 2008 financial crisis, once they re-evaluated their ability to handle risk. A key 'lesson learned' from the past financial crisis was to continue to focus on the long term. Investors who maintained their investing strategy, and stayed with stocks during 2008-2009, showed a 240% increase in their balances, compared to a 157% increase for those who sold out of stocks at any point during 2008-2009.
  • Many consultancies and advisors are recommending consumers focus on their financial plans in the wake of COVID-19, such as BergenDV, a wealth advisor, who recommends consumers focus on their financial plan and 'stay the course.' AICPA, who represents the accounting profession, offers a resource center for consumer financial planning in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Financial planners note they are seeing a rise in the number of new clients, especially those who have not sought financial services previously. Many are referred by family and friends.

All-Risks

  • All Risks COVID-19 communication is prominent on its web page, emphasizing its commitment to its clients. Specific messaging is, "during this global pandemic, All Risks will remain fully operational and committed to serving our retail agency clients and carrier partners."
  • Their website includes a dedicated page with information highlighting relevant industry-related issues surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, including information about industry impacts, insurance considerations during the crisis, service updates, and philanthropic efforts.
  • Recent All-Risk press pieces include 'How Will COVID-19 Impact the Design & Construction Industries?', 'The Coronavirus and Workers' Compensation', 'Accounting Services at All Risks, Ltd.', and 'Roadie Rescue Campaign Formed to Benefit Live Event Industry Hourly Workers Displaced by Coronavirus Cancellations'.

Fidelity

  • Fidelity offers a COVID-19 resource center for update, insights and answers to client questions.
  • Their COVID-19 page mainly focuses on COVID-19 impact on investors, including information surrounding the postponement of the tax deadline in the United States, a message from the CEO, Abigail Johnson, highlighting Fidelity's commitment to helping their client with their financial needs, and weekly expert insights, such as offering perspective on how to manage market volatility in uncertain times.
  • The communication from Johnson focuses on ensuring Fidelity is able to keep their clients digitally connected at all times, providing as much information to clients as possible through increased capacity, and supporting and promoting the health and safety of their workforce and clients.

Summary of Our Early Research Relevant To The Goals

  • In this first hour, we were able to find information surrounding the impact on life insurance and annuities as a result of COVID-19, insights around financial planning during a crisis, and COVID-19 specifically, and COVID-19 communication for All Risk and Fidelity.
  • Our research recommendations reflect the information we were able to uncover in early research.

Proposed next steps:

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