• 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

FILE PHOTO: Customers use ATMs at a branch of Lloyds Bank in London, Britain, February 21, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters) – Lloyd’s of London [SOLYD.UL] is reviewing the way insurance products are designed and sold as it calls for simpler products in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the commercial insurance market said on Monday.

Insurers have suffered reputational damage as a result of complex products which are hard for businesses to understand, leading to court cases over whether policyholders are covered for the pandemic in countries including Britain, France and the United States.

“The insurance industry must urgently reassess how it can better serve and support its customers,” Lloyd’s Chief Executive John Neal said in a statement.

He said it was imperative to build simpler insurance products that are more easily understood.

Lloyd’s, which runs an insurance market of more than 90 syndicate members, said it would review how products were developed, designed and sold.

It also laid out recommendations for simpler products in a report published on Monday.

These include insurers carrying out a “linguistics review” of policy documents, investing in new products such as parametric insurance which pay out immediately when specific triggers are hit, and involving customers in product design.

A test case over business interruption insurance brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) against eight insurers, including several with a presence at Lloyd’s, is heading for the appeal courts after the regulator said the initial judgment ruled mainly in favour of policyholders.

The case, which is expected to affect more than 60 insurers, 370,000 policyholders and billions in insurance claims, is being closely watched overseas.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by David Clarke

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By Nidhi Verma and Manoj Kumar

NEW DELHI, Oct 9 (Reuters)A recent cut in Indian gas prices will wipe about $1 billion off Oil and Natural Gas Corp.’s (ONGC) ONGC.NS revenue from its gas business in the current fiscal year ending in March, the company’s finance chief said on Friday.

India has slashed prices of gas produced from old blocks – handed to explorers without bidding – by about a quarter to a multi-year low of $1.79 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu).

ONGC produces over 95% of its 70 million standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of gas output through old blocks.

Finance chief Subhash Kumar said production costs averaged about $3.60-3.70 per mmBtu, which means it is making a loss of $2 per mmBtu since the gas price cut, losing about 100 billion rupees of revenue.

“But since we don’t have to pay taxes on this loss, eventually it comes to 60-70 billion rupees ($821 million-$958 million). That is the net loss in the gas business,” Kumar told a news conference after a shareholders’ meeting.

India needs to make gas prices ‘remunerative’ for producers to boost local output as the country wants to raise the share of the cleaner fuel in its energy mix to 15% by 2030, from 6.2% currently, ONGC’s Chairman Shashi Shankar told the news briefing.

He said the government has set up a panel to look into modifying the current pricing formula, which is based on a weighted average of Henry Hub, Alberta Hub, National Balancing Point and Russian gas.

“Talk is going on of giving some kind of floor price and change in (the) formula as well… The formula could be revised and JKM (Japan Korea Marker) could be one of the markets linked with,” he said.

However, he

Welcome to Thursday’s Overnight Health Care.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn't visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent

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Overnight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent

Regeneron filed for emergency authorization of its antibody COVID-19 treatment drug, just hours after President Trump claimed it basically cured him. Mitch McConnell hasn’t been to the White House in months, and a new analysis shows Americans’ job-based health care is continually getting more expensive.

We’ll start with Regeneron:

Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received

Biotech company Regeneron late Wednesday applied for emergency authorization for an experimental antibody treatment praised by President Trump.

“Subsequent to our discussions with regulatory authorities, we have submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for our REGN-COV2 investigational antibody combination for COVID-19,” the company said in a news release.

The move came just hours after the president praised the efficacy of the treatment in a short video message posted on Twitter.

“They gave me Regeneron, it’s called Regeneron,” Trump said in the five-minute video Wednesday afternoon. “It was unbelievable. I felt good immediately. I felt as good three days ago as I do now.”

Why it matters: Trump was taking several drugs for his illness, so it’s not clear which helped him feel better. He claimed he has the “emergency use authorization all set,” but the FDA is supposed to make decisions based on science and not demands from the president. Regeneron’s drug is still undergoing clinical trials, and while early results seem promising, the company has not released data to back up its claims.

Read more here.

McConnell says he hasn’t visited White

Viacom-CBS has enacted some additional belt-tightening for 2020, as employee merit pay increases have been eliminated for the year.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic’s continued hammering of the media sector, Viacom-CBS CEO Bob Bakish addressed staff in a global town hall event on Wednesday morning to announce the cuts.

“In an effort to manage company assets conservatively during this economically challenging time, we have come to the difficult but necessary decision to forego merit increases for all employees this year,” Bakish said, according to multiple individuals familiar with the meeting.

Merit pay is unscheduled increases in compensation based on performance, and is separate from bonuses.

A Viacom-CBS spokesperson had no immediate comment on the matter.

Sources said there’s also a feeling more staff reductions may shake out by the end of the year, which will come as part of the recent recombination of CBS and Viacom, and not as part of pandemic economic factors. The company has enacted several rounds of layoffs since February, its highest round affected roughly 100 employees across holdings.

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, we were already in a period of significant change to integrate our newly combined company — work that is helping us weather this crisis, creatively adapt and strengthen the resiliency of our business,” Bakish said at the time.

On Wednesday, Bakish also said that domestic employees would not be returning to their offices “for the foreseeable future,” according to another individual. Months ago, the CEO announced that all office locations including their New York headquarters would remain closed through the end of 2020.

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