Nearly three-fourths (70%) of life insurance underwriters expect the number and severity of epidemics and pandemics to increase over the next five to 10 years, reveals a new survey by Munich Re US Life.
Out of 100 insurers, who participated in the survey, almost 46% believe influenza (bird flu, swine flu, etc.) is the potential pandemic disease that carries the most risk for the insured population, followed by a currently unknown disease (25%), Zika virus (14%), Ebola virus (8%) and SARS (7%).
Of the life insurance companies represented, approximately 73% take into account geographically localized risks in their medical underwriting process.
However, just one-quarter of the life insurance companies participated currently have guidelines in place that take Zika virus into consideration, despite recent outbreaks across parts of Central and South America.
Nearly 34% insurers said that more consumers are now seeking coverage against Ebola virus and Zika virus, while 64% responded that they have had no impact.
Approximately 56% participating companies believe that the occurrence of epidemics or pandemics will have no impact on the accessibility of life insurance.
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Munich American Reassurance Company vice president and chief medical director Gina Guzman said: "As alarming as the outbreak in South and Central America may seem, Munich Re expects limited impact on life and health insurance."