Issue No. 7 | July 2021
The COVID-19 Vaccine and Life Insurance
Whatever your political affiliation, it is no secret that the Biden administration is investing time into national campaigns supporting receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the administration is also concerned with ‘social media misinformation.’ In fact, the Wall Street Journal ran an article on July 22, 2021, which outlined Senator Amy Klobuchar’s bill which is aimed at attaching liability to online platforms if their technologies spread misinformation related to health emergencies.
Recently, there has been widespread discussion over claims on social media that life insurance companies are gearing up to deny applicant eligibility for life insurance, or, in a more nefarious scheme, deny benefits payable to life insurance beneficiaries if the deceased received a COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals who use Twitter and Facebook have posted and shared claims that close family members were denied life insurance payments because the deceased took the COVID-19 vaccine which the insurance company categorized as an experimental vaccine, thus voiding the policy. While the topic has sparked many a spirited discussion from dinner tables to offices around the country, and the topic is bound to garner an emotional reaction from disgust to fear, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) has released public statements to attempt an answer this very question and ameliorate the concerns of customers.
As early as March 12, 2021, the ACLI released the following statement: “The fact is that life insurers do not consider whether or not a policyholder has received a COVID vaccine when deciding whether to pay a claim. Policyholders should rest assured that nothing has changed in the claims-paying process as a result of COVID-19 vaccinations.” While the response may not be as specific as some customers had hoped, institutions such as Reuters have also attempted to “fact-check” the social media claims and debunk them. Nevertheless, the conversation persists on social media and beyond. The posts are still being shared. We are watching how this phenomenon with ‘medical misinformation’ as a key component, will be used in support of, or opposition to, the pervasive discussion on social media and free speech.
 The author takes no position on the substance of the matter and simply uses the WSJ article to demonstrate the current administration’s position on the COVID-19 pandemic and its interaction with social media technology.
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