Life insurance actuaries are reporting that many more people are dying – still – than in the years before the pandemic. And while deaths during COVID-19 had largely occurred among the old and infirm, this new wave is hitting prime-of-life people hard.
No one knows precisely what is driving the phenomenon, but there is an inexplicable lack of urgency to find out. A concerted investigation is in order.
Deaths among young Americans documented in employee life insurance claims should alone set off alarms. Among working people 35 to 44 years old, a stunning 34% more died than expected in the last quarter of 2022, with above-average rates in other working-age groups, too.
“COVID-19 claims do not fully explain the increase,” a Society of Actuaries report says.
From 2020 through 2022, there were more excess deaths proportionally among white-collar than blue-collar workers: 19% versus 14% above normal. The disparity nearly doubled among top-echelon workers in the fourth quarter of 2022, U.S. actuaries reported.
And there was an extreme and sudden increase in worker mortality in the fall of 2021 even as the nation saw a precipitous drop in COVID-19 deaths from a previous wave. In the third quarter of 2021, deaths among workers ages 35-44 reached a pandemic peak of 101% above – or double – the three-year pre-COVID baseline. In two other prime working-age groups, mortality was 79% above expected.