How Safe Are Insurance Policies During Financial Crisis?
The world is facing another financial crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. People are worried that the lockdown will continue and will further affect the economy. The pandemic is raising concerns from all angles including the insurance industry.
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The financial crisis is also leaving its mark on life insurers. Yields are falling, but bankruptcies are unlikely. The financial world is upside down. In the US, banks are on their knees in rows, the insurance giant AIG can only survive with the help of the state, and the central banks pump billions into the market every day to prevent a collapse of the financial system. The financial crisis demands new victims almost every day. Concerns among insurance policyholders are rising. The question now is how safe are our life insurance policies?
Insurance industry will be impacted by coronavirus
What does the financial crisis have to do with my insurance?
Insurance companies have heaped up billions of dollars in investments with their customers’ money. The money is invested worldwide. However, there are strict regulations for the plant. The majority of the amount is invested in secure investments, such as fixed-income securities and covered bonds. A maximum of 35 percent of the investment amount may be invested in venture capital – for example in shares, company investments, or hedge funds.
What influence do the stock exchanges have on my life insurance?
At the beginning of the year, the Dax was still over 8000 points, on Friday it was around 2000 points less. This naturally reduces the value of the shares that the insurance companies have in their custody accounts. However, their share of the total capital investment is much lower today than it used to be. The equity quota in the industry is now only around ten percent, half the level of the stock market crash in 2002. In addition, the investment strategy of individual insurance companies is very different.
The financial crisis is also reducing bond yields, and this affects insurers much harder than write-downs on subprime stocks or falling stock prices. As more and more investors worldwide take refuge in safe investments, the price of the securities rises.
Will profit-sharing decrease?
In the boardrooms of insurers, it is traditionally not until the end of the year that the companies will credit their customers for the coming year. And if gloomy forecasts are right, the insured must expect falling earnings in the future. However, the profit-sharing in recent years remains unaffected.
What about unit-linked policies?
Unit-linked policies have significantly higher equity quota than conventional life insurance policies. Therefore, they are significantly more affected by the stock market crash. Nevertheless, customers should not now quit head over heels, but wait and see what comes. Anyone who now quits can expect considerable financial losses because the insurers first deduct their costs and the commissions paid by the agent.
However, recent developments should be a lesson for consumers. Many have been lured at the sales talk with the prospect of high returns that they have not questioned. This is taking revenge now. Experience has shown that the supposedly high opportunities are also associated with higher risks. Those who want a secure pension should stay away from unit-linked life insurance.
Can my insurance go bankrupt?
If an insurance company comes into serious financial distress, the state rescue fund – protector – intervenes, into which all insurers pay. Protektor takes over and continues the insurance contracts of the customers in the worst case. However, only the guaranteed interest rate of 2.25 percent is then paid.
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