American Life Insurers Mortality Tables are Expected to Shift due to Coronavirus

U.S. life insurers are deciding not to gamble on older Americans during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis by temporarily suspending applications from certain age groups or imposing tougher requirements. Insuring older Americans can be a big risk for U.S. life insurers under the best of circumstances, but it brings in hefty premiums. But the risk involved with insuring older Americans during a world pandemic is expected to bring changes to the industry. The biggest shift may occur first on the mortality tables of life insurance companies in the United States,

The coronavirus pandemic has quickly made this most recent strain one of America’s top ten killers. At the time of writing this blog post, with limited testing, there are 876,156 coronavirus cases, 49,864 deaths and 85,010 recovered. This brings the total deaths to a number higher then the number of lives lost in 911 and the Vietnam war.

Diving into longevity tables, the most recent numbers that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have compiled are from the year 2017. Vital statistics from the year 2018 are not expected until the end of June 2020.

At the close of 2017, the U.S. population was 325,923,198. With 2,813,503 deaths in 2017, the American death toll from all causes was .0086%. As of this writing, the total United States population was 329,556,747 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. [1] Only time will tell what the COVID-19 death toll will be in 2020 and what our total death toll from all causes will be.

One thing that we do know is that while we are in the first month of the second quarter of 2020, COVID-19 deaths are at 48,925[2] and counting. That means that if the ten main causes of death in 2017, are the same main causes of death in 2020, that COVID-19 has quickly broken into the top ten.

Only time will tell where in the top ten causes of death the coronavirus will finish this year. One thing that is certain is that the top ten causes of death in 2017 were the same top ten causes that claimed American lives from 2013-2017, heart disease.

While it is too soon to tell what impact COVID-19 will have on the mortality tables of U.S. life insurance companies and their ensuing policy premiums, one thing is certain. This deadly pandemic will most certainly have an impact on American life insurers. To get a current market appraisal for your older client’s life insurance policy, call us at (800) 286-3738.

“Deaths and Mortality

Data are for the U.S.

  • Number of deaths: 2,813,503
  • Death rate: 863.8 deaths per 100,000 population
  • Life expectancy: 78.6 years
  • Infant Mortality rate: 5.79 deaths per 1,000 live births

Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2017, tables 1, 3, 13 pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB]

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173”

Source: Deaths: Final Data for 2017, table B pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB]

Statistics, National Center for Health. (2019, June 24). Deaths and Mortality. Retrieved from Center for Disease Control:



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