How COVID-19 is, or is not, impacting the life insurance business and the ability to obtain coverage

As part of the panic that has consumed the world surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers are asking whether insurance companies are doing anything different, or perhaps, postponing the ability of consumers to obtain life insurance, for general pandemic related reasons.

When a worldwide event such as COVID-19 consumes the news, life insurance becomes an increasing subject of interest. While little is known about how insurance companies will manage underwriting decisions surrounding COVID-19, what is now becoming a greater challenge are required off-site medical exams for approval with some life insurance policies. Information regarding medical exams is unfolding, and more will be known as carriers begin reporting to the general public.

Aside from the limitations of medical exams, it’s been business as usual for insurance carriers. With regard to recent travel, while carriers have historically and routinely inquired about recent foreign travel, there will be greater focus on travel to countries where the coronavirus is rampant.

According to Byron Udell, founder and CEO of, “Life insurance companies have always asked about recent or planned foreign travel to various regions that may be considered hotspots, and that has always been an underwriting factor. This is similar. You can figure that if you’ve recently returned from one of the places in the world that are COVID-19 hot-spots, one might expect most of the insurance companies to postpone underwriting your application for say, 30 days.”

News from the CDC and other official offices is fluid and precisely how life insurance carriers will react moving forward is still unknown. While some companies have updated their underwriting guidelines, the good news is that they are continuing to issue coverage for those consumers who are interested in obtaining life insurance.

“I believe it’s imperative we not panic, but rather, listen to the facts,” Udell said. “We strive to protect families every day in our line of work. If there are elderly or at-risk folks in your area, of course, they should do everything possible to avoid contact with infection. So, check on them, and make sure they know how to stay safe. The measures being taken nationwide now are being implemented in order to ‘flatten out the infection curve’ and ease the strain on our already inundated healthcare system.”

We must all do our part to help flatten out the curve with social distancing and good hygiene.

Udell said will be providing additional information about carrier updates, facts about the virus, and tips on staying healthy across social platforms and via email to its clients.