How will the COVID-19 vaccine change the future of insurance premiums?
The future of our society is changing every day as a result of the pandemic. The last two years have shown us all just how little control we have over what is going to happen next in our lives.
As a result, many of us are trying to cling to some sort of sense of normalcy that we can control in our lives. For many, the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine meant we could finally gain back some control and begin to look forward to a different future. From here we knew that the vaccine was going to change our lives, but what other areas will it impact?
Since the rollout began, we have seen that one of the most common questions being asked is “Will the COVID-19 vaccine impact my insurance premiums?”.
The insurance industry is going to be one of the few industries that will have to adjust certain parts of their business to align with the vaccine roll-out. However, at the moment Australian insurers are currently adopting a ‘watch-and-see’ approach, despite vaccine status certainly being top of mind.
Throughout the industry there is definitely talk and a lot of interest as to how the issue will be dealt with among management liability, accident & health and life insurers. While at the moment, the purchasing of insurance doesn’t require you to provide your vaccination status, this might not always be the case.
At the moment there is no differentiated premium pricing for unvaccinated insureds. Insurers are having to make sure the risk is excluded, or they are deciding to cover the risk with no loading for the unvaccinated. Why? One reason is that currently, the topic of vaccination status is politically sensitive, so many insurers are trying to avoid it for now.
This doesn’t mean that in the future there is no reason why vaccination status cannot be used in underwriting. This is because it does alter certain risks, and therefore could impact premiums, especially in the travel, accident & health and life insurance spheres.
It could become the norm to start asking potential customers for their COVID-19 vaccination status when writing new policies. As a result, this could factor in changes to not only premiums but terms and benefits offered within the insurance policy.
However, this is a situation that will only become clearer as time goes on, and the insurance industry gets more clarity on the legality of asking for a person’s vaccination status.
Here in Australia, we are fortunate to have such a high uptake of the vaccine, which will help to protect those who are unvaccinated. At this point in time, the future of insurance premiums is up in the air, and we won’t get an answer on the tangible changes in the next few months.
Some believe that the impact of vaccination status isn’t enough to impact insurance premiums. However, it is assumed that in the future your ability to travel to certain destinations may be impacted by your vaccination status, so it seems as though travel insurance may be the most likely insurance type requiring such vaccination information. But for now, we will just wait to see if there comes an impact on other sectors of insurance.
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