With COVID-19 affecting almost every industry and part of our everyday life, we’ve all had to make changes to our daily lives. Whether that means a business shifting to more of an online presence or individuals wearing masks whenever leaving the home, our norms have greatly shifted.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the insurance industry has also evolved, especially in the context of a pandemic that directly impacts our health and safety. Many sects of insurance have recalibrated their processes and coverage details to accommodate our current state, and some of these changes could likely be longlasting. Below we go through possible long-term impacts of the pandemic on the insurance industry.
Impact #1: Increase in Technology
Given that keeping a distance is essential, insurance companies have adopted technological avenues for things that previously may have been done in person. For example, many health insurance providers are covering telehealth services for doctor appointments, counseling services and more.1 Some life insurance policies are waiving the medical exam requirement and are opting to take a look at an individual’s data instead.
In addition, e-applications, e-policy delivery and other technological innovations are being implemented more frequently across the board.2 State marketplaces, such as Oregon and Colorado, have also made sure consumers are connected with online assisters who can help them enroll in coverage.3
Impact #2: Greater Accessibility
With more technology, connecting with and finding insurance policies becomes easier. Online processes, such as e-applications and e-policy delivery, make it more seamless to join a plan or make adjustments as necessary.
Some insurance organizations are taking it a step further by broadcasting their voices and trying to reach the uninsured. Several state marketplaces have equipped state labor or employment security departments with health insurance enrollment information to those filing for unemployment insurance. Others, such as those in New York, Connecticut and D.C. have sought to reach out to those at risk of losing coverage from a job loss. New York started a full campaign, and Connecticut and D.C. have reached out specifically to organizations who have or are planning to layoff employees.3
Impact #3: Security Is in Question
Some have pointed to an increase in the safety of information due to the possibility of insurance providers implementing cybersecurity measures.2 On the other hand, however, COVID-19 seems to have set off a tidal wave of scammers across all industries, including the insurance industry and, more specifically, the health care industry. Consumer-facing scams and fraud have been on the rise and are preying on the fear of many individuals and families. The US Attorney General and the Department of Health and Human Services have sent memos and alerts to look out for frauds and bad actors.4
The impact of increased technology on security and safety overall is still to be seen, but it will likely be top of mind for insurers who will need to implement increased security measures.
While the long-term impact is only based on speculation at this point, many industries will likely be changed, for better or for worse, as a result of COVID-19. One of the most important takeaways, however, is to remain vigilant about potential scams and look into the details of your specific insurance plans to understand what changes have been made as a result of the pandemic.