Life Insurance International lists the top five terms tweeted by Covid-19 insurance influencers in Q3 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Covid-19 – 2,100 mentions

The growing burden of expenses on Covid-19 patients, how life insurers are closing fewer Covid-19 related insurance claims and loss of insurance coverage due to furloughs were popularly discussed in the third quarter. According to an article shared by Euegne Gu, the CEO of Cool Quit, a telemedicine company, Covid-19 patients are being charged as much as $2m for six weeks of treatment by hospitals. Even insurance companies are unable to cover most of the expenses related to the disease. As a result, many patients and families are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Atul Gawande, a surgeon and writer, meanwhile, shared an article on how US life insurers are paying out far fewer Covid-19 death insurance claims than expected. This is happening because either US citizens have little or no insurance to cover Covid-19 risks. Life insurance companies are also dramatically reducing estimates of their exposure to an average of 40% and 50%, driven mainly by minorities and older Americans who hold smaller policies, the article detailed. Insurers are offering policies to people with health concerns, but at higher premiums, thereby discouraging purchase. As a result, reinsurers who provide financial protection to insurers have also reduced their Covid-19 coverage.

Covid-19 also trended in discussions about job reductions and furloughs leading to the loss of insurance coverage for millions of Americans, according to an article shared by Laurie Garrett, an American science journalist. People who do not have health insurance and dependent on employers for coverage, will eventually lose out once their employer decides whether to waive cost sharing, the article noted.

2. Insurers – 600 mentions

Patients being forced to cover costs of coronavirus tests, how insurers are profiting from the pandemic and uncertainties surrounding business interruption insurance claims were popularly discussed topics in Q3. According to an article shared by Sarah Kliff, an investigative reporter, Americans are having to incur huge expenses on coronavirus testing and treatment. They are also being denied claims related to coronavirus tests, which were expected to be free.

Congress had passed laws for insurers to pay for tests, while the Trump administration introduced a programme to cover the bills of uninsured patients. Insurers are looking for grey areas in these rules to work in their favour citing out-of-network benefits although federal law requires them to cover the tests in full, the article detailed.

Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist, further tweeted on how insurers are profiting from the pandemic. People in the US, healthcare providers, and hospitals have lost lives, protection, and coverage leading to bankruptcy, he added. Meanwhile, insurers profited the most from the pandemic, due to fall in expenditure, lack of limits on profits from insurers’ subsidiary businesses such as pharmacies, no premium cuts, and insurers waiving off cost sharing benefits with their customers.

Other discussions around insurers included Trish Regan’s, a journalist, tweet about insurers arguing that business interruption policies were not designed to cover government-enforced lockdowns. Businesses were beginning to realise that despite having bought insurance policies to cover business interruptions, they were paying huge amounts of annual premiums, the article noted.

3. Insurtech – 357 mentions

Investments in the insurtech space and new technologies in insurance were popularly discussed during the quarter. According to an article shared by Xavier Gomez, a fintech thought leader, coronavirus will introduce new phases of technological investments and maturity in its direct-to-consumer models in insurtech, the article noted.

Digitisation of underwriting processes and introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in streamlining pricing are laying the foundation for a competitive space, the article detailed. Insurtech valuations have also been steadily rising since 2017, indicating further technological improvements in claims processing, underwriting and administration.

Mike de Waal, the president and founder of Global IQX, a leading software provider, meanwhile, discussed why insurers should embrace AI during the coronavirus pandemic. The article noted that many AI advances have been directed towards protecting the health and safety of medical staff and frontline workers. This protection also extends to patients and visitors not infected with the virus.

4. Health – 256 mentions

Health insurers’ making enormous profits during the pandemic and some waiving or extending out-of-pocket costs for Covid-19 treatment were some popularly discussed topics in Q3. According to an article shared by Kris Held, a physician, the largest insurers reported combined profits of $17bn in the second quarter as hospitals and physicians put off elective services. Some insurers such as Anthem and the United Health Group even doubled their profits.

Daniel E Choi, an orthopaedic surgeon, further discussed that health insurers could be hoarding as much as $9.5bn per month as patients avoided hospitals for months and decreased health expenditures.

Another discussion surrounding health was shared by Cynthia Cox, the vice president at Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy analysis provider, about how insurers had waived Covid-19 treatment costs. While many insurers were extending their waivers till September, others let it expire in June. Health insurance companies also activated emergency plans during the coronavirus pandemic to help people avail prevention, testing and treatment options, the article noted.

5. Fintech – 213 mentions

The survival of fintech and insurance in the coronavirus era and the importance of tailoring electronic claims payments during the pandemic were popularly discussed in the third quarter. According to an article shared by Dr Robin Kiera, an insurtech and digital transformation expert, Israeli CEOs are of the opinion that fintech has thrived despite disruptions caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The article noted that equity investments in Israeli fintech have soared over the last six years according to a report from Start-up Nation Central (SNC), a non-profit organisation promoting innovation in Israel. The report revealed that Israeli fintech investments amounted to $1.8bn in 2019, with the country accounting for 5.1% of the global fintech investments. The report added that as many as 12 companies raised $100m each, many of them representing insurance providers.

Another discussion related to fintech was shared by Colin Bristow, a pre-sales insurance manager at SAS, a computer software company, about how insurers should customise claims payment options to suit the type of claim a policyholder has during Covid-19. For instance, in case of an emergency, a person would need immediate money to buy necessities or book a hotel.