• Many firms have noted double-digit increases in the number of life insurance policies they’ve sold during the Covid-19 pandemic relative to last year. 
  • The increase is largely due to a fear of death and greater awareness of financial risks associated with mortality, experts said.
  • Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier.





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Life insurance is enjoying something of a renaissance as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Consumers, especially younger adults, have been buying insurance in elevated numbers since the spring, when thousands of Americans began getting ill and dying from Covid-19.

That result is logical, experts said, given the core use of life insurance: as a financial backstop in the event of death.

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For example, what if the breadwinner of a family dies unexpectedly from Covid-19? Insurance is meant to plug that immediate gap in household income.

“It’s forced the idea of financial protection and mortality to the top of mind for consumers in a way very few events have,” said Jennifer Fitzgerald, the CEO and co-founder of Policygenius, an online marketplace for life insurance.

‘Panic buying’

Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier.

But Google Search traffic for “life insurance” jumped 50% between March and May this year compared with the same period in 2019, said Fitzgerald, whose firm gets a large share of business from such internet

Big money investors have over the last six months poured cash into the markets at the fastest pace in 17 years as they fretted over COVID-19 and the upcoming presidential election, according to a new survey from Bank of America.

Cash holdings fell to 4.4% in October, down from 4.8% in September, and have now dropped 1.5 percentage points since April, the fastest decline since 2003. A reading below 4% is considered investor greed.

Respondents “said the recession is over, reduce cash, pause cyclical rotation, and price in contested election & February vaccine,” wrote Michael Hartnett, chief equity strategist at Bank of America. “We say sell SPX > 3600 and cyclical rotation via banks/energy to resume in Q4.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
SPX n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

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The Charlotte, N.C.-based lender surveyed 198 participants with $593 billion in assets under management between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8.

Thirty-four percent of respondents feared a second wave of COVID-19 was the biggest “tail risk” as expectations for the timing of a credible vaccine were pushed back from January 2021 to February 2021.

Absent the pandemic, investors were most worried about uncertainty caused by the upcoming presidential election, with 61% predicting the election will be contested.

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said such an outcome was the one that would cause the most volatility. Another 14% forecast a Democratic sweep would shock markets while 8% feared a divided Congress and 4% were uneasy about a President Trump win.

On the economy, 60% of respondents said we are in an early-cycle phase as opposed to 26% who thought we were still in recession.

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Insurers have confirmed that pledges to support people working from home due to coronavirus and motorists whose habits have also changed because of the pandemic will last until at least the end of this year.

he Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the extra support already in place, which was due to expire at the end of October, has been extended until December 31 2020.

The ABI said this could be of significant help to many of the UK’s 17 million home insurance policyholders and 27 million motor insurance customers.

Under the temporary support measures, if someone is an office-based worker who is working from home because of the pandemic, their home insurance will not be affected. They do not need to contact their insurer to update their documents or extend their cover.

And if someone has to drive to and from their workplace because of the impact of Covid-19, their insurance policy will not be affected, the ABI said.

Also, if someone is using their own car for voluntary purposes to transport medicines or groceries to support others who are impacted by Covid-19, their cover will not be affected.

This applies to all categories of NHS volunteer responders, including transporting patients, equipment, or other essential supplies.

If someone’s work is critical to the national response to Covid-19 and they need to use their own car to drive to different locations for work purposes because of the impact of coronavirus, their cover will also not be affected.

The temporary pledges remain under review, and the next review of home and motor insurance will take place before December 31.

The ABI said that if policyholders have longer-term changes in their working-at-home or driving patterns that will continue into the next 12 months and they are renewing their insurance policy, they should

NEW YORK — The final three months of the year, usually a boom time for many small businesses thanks to holiday shopping and celebrations, looks precarious as the coronavirus maintains its grip on the economy.

Owners contending with government restrictions or crumbling demand are trying to hold on, with some creating new products and services or desperately searching for new customers. Others, however, have found they’re already well equipped to meet the lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic.

The big corporate and non-profit parties and events that Sophia D’Angelo ran before the virus outbreak have just about vanished. Large in-person gatherings that companies typically use to launch or promote their brands aren’t possible because of social distancing requirements.

“The fourth quarter was always the bulk of my business,” says D’Angelo, who owns Boston Experiential Group, based in Boston.

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D’Angelo has had to get creative. She’s using her expertise to arrange small gatherings like holiday-themed dinners and parties at people’s homes, usually for no more than 10 guests.

The fourth quarter is a key time for many industries and companies of all sizes. Some retailers typically expect to make as much as half their annual revenue during the holiday shopping season, as do many of their suppliers. Any business connected with holiday parties and celebrations also has high hopes for the October-December period.

This photo provided by Adam M. Rammel shows the beer garden at The Syndicate on Aug. 20, 2020 in Bellefontaine, Ohio. Many restaurants, event planners and even companies like distillers and corporate gift manufacturers face weaker revenues although t

But conditions are dicey this year. The coronavirus has devastated many small businesses; it’s estimated that hundreds

The coronavirus pandemic is splitting the restaurant industry in two. Big, well capitalized chains like

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

and

Domino’s Pizza Inc.

are gaining customers and adding stores while tens of thousands of local eateries go bust.

Larger operators generally have the advantages of more capital, more leverage on lease terms, more physical space, more geographic flexibility and prior expertise with drive-throughs, carryout and delivery. A similarly uneven recovery is unfolding across the business world as big firms have tended to fare far better during the pandemic than small rivals, thinning the ranks of entrepreneurs who could eventually become major U.S. employers. In the retail world, bigger chains like

Walmart Inc.

and

Target Corp.

are posting strong sales while many small shops struggle to stay open.

The divide between large and small restaurants surfaced in the summer. Chipotle more than tripled its online business sales in the second quarter while Domino’s,

Papa John’s International Inc.

and

Wingstop Inc.

all reported double-digit same-store sales increases in the third quarter compared with the year-earlier period. McDonald’s also said U.S. same-store sales rose 4.6% in the third quarter. That included a rise in the low double digits during September, its best monthly performance in nearly a decade. It credited faster drive-throughs and promotions.

Off Menu

People are spending less than during the last recession at restaurants, particularly smaller independent ones, straining the finances of many businesses.

U.S. restaurant consumer spending, change from previous year

U.S. food service sales,

change from previous year

Small U.S. businesses’ default rate on loans and leases

Accommodations

and food services

Small U.S. businesses’ default rate on loans and leases

U.S. restaurant consumer spending, change from previous year

U.S. food service sales, change from previous year

Accommodations

and food services

U.S. restaurant consumer spending, change from previous year