Close up on a file tab with the word life insurance, focus on the main text and blur effect. Concept image for illustration of family protection policy
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Data from insurers show an increase in life insurance claims from individuals in the second quarter — at the height of the first wave of Covid-19. However, the spike was within an acceptable range for insurers.

Specifically, individual life insurance claims increased in April and May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, says a report from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA).

For example, in April 2020, aggregated individual life insurance claims amounted to more than $502 million, compared to roughly $442 million a year earlier, the report said.

Also in April 2020, the percentage of individual claims that could be attributed to Covid-19 peaked at 12.34%.

The report analyzed data from January 2019 to June 2020 provided by 13 insurers, including Canada Life, Manulife, Sun Life, RBC and Industrial Alliance. Not all insurers were able to provide cause-of-death details, the report said.

Because the peak in individual claims was contained to a relatively short time period, it fell within the volatility range for which insurers are prepared, the CIA said in a release.

A similar increase wasn’t apparent in the data for group insurance, which was attributed to demographics.

“In general, group insurance represents a younger population, with overall healthier populations, so the impact of Covid-19 may not have been as significant when compared to individual insurance,” the CIA said in a release.

Overall, insurers reported a total of 1,916 claims due to Covid-19 (individual and group) in the first six months of 2020, the report said.

The CIA will continue to track aggregate monthly data on Covid-19 deaths as Canada grapples with a second wave.

“Actuaries are responsible for modelling and monitoring the reserves and health of the industry, and the CIA is assisting in continuing to track and analyze data,” said Keith Walter, chair of the CIA’s research council, in the release.

A second phase of the report will be published to provide more detailed analysis and models in line with mortality tables.

On Wednesday, Statistics Canada reported an increase in Covid-19-related deaths in October: 244 in the first 10 days of the month versus 171 for all of September.