Life & Health

Pandemic Has Reduced Global Stress Levels By 7%, But 40% Of The Population Suffer From Mental Distress

Acceptance and understanding is most important, so better coverage and care can be given

“ReMark International 7th Annual Global Consumer Study into Life & Health Insurance”

LONDON, 30th September 2020 – ReMark’s 7th annual Global Consumer Study (GCS), the benchmark survey of people’s attitude to life and health insurance has found that 40.4% of respondents reported they have suffered a period of mental distress or anxiety which prevented them from undertaking their usual activity. However, the overall number of people who said they were often or always feeling stressed was 6.8% lower than in last year’s survey.

The ReMark Global Consumer Study provides six years of data looking at life and health insurance and, in its seventh year, gives unique insights into the attitudes of the consumers surveyed as they struggled to deal with the impact of Covid-19. The research was undertaken in May as many nations and regions were in lockdown with social distancing introduced in most countries.

ReMark CEO, Na Jia, believes an understanding of stress is essential for all life and health insurers, and sees the data, even with Covid, reflecting ongoing trends in the industry: “Compared with the 2019 data the causes of stress have remained stable, with just one variation. It will be no surprise that health is now cited as a source of stress for 19.2% of respondents, up from 13.9% in 2019.

The survey showed 86.1% of respondents believe physical and mental health are linked, which is a positive realization, but there is still a stigma surrounding mental health for 66.6% of people surveyed. The greater the understanding and acceptance of stress as an important health issue the better we can get at providing cover for this sector.”

Variations In Stress Levels

Stress levels across the world showed large variations, possibly linked to the dynamic nature of the pandemic. Younger generations were notably more stressed in 2020, but there were large differences between countries. Some saw dramatic drops in stress levels with China and Spain down 36.0% and 21.6% respectively. However, these figures were offset by increases in stress in other countries, India up 27.7% and Indonesia increasing by 24.2%. In 2020 the three most ‘stressed’ countries are India 49.3%, France 49.2% and Japan 47.1%; and the three least stressed are USA 30.6%, Germany 25.7% and Indonesia 21.7%.

However, the survey founded that globally stress levels fell by an average of 7% which was an interesting statistic for Ms Jia who commented: “Covid-19 has impacted all areas of the globe irrespective of social groups and nationalities. We can see on one hand, that the fear of the virus and the uncertainty over jobs and money have added to stress levels, but on the other hand, people spend more time at home and with families and not having to commute, with long hours at work. In lockdown it is possible to see why there was a 6.8% decrease in stress levels, it will be interesting to see what happens in the long-run as Covid-19 becomes a true marathon.”

We can see on one hand, that the fear of the virus and the uncertainty over jobs and money have added to stress levels, but on the other hand, people spend more time at home and with families and not having to commute, with long hours at work...

The ReMark GCS did show that 60.7% of respondents would be happy to disclose mental health data to their insurers. This will allow the industry to improve the products available but there will be a need to address consumer concerns that disclosure of information may result in more expensive premiums. At the moment the preferred method of disclosure is through the anonymity of an online questionnaire (cited by 36.5% of consumers).

Seeking Help & Protection

“The issue of disclosure is one we are looking at very carefully.” continued Ms Jia. “The good news is that two thirds of respondents are now happy to share their electronic health records with a life insurance company. They will do this if it would speed up the purchase process, but it does mean that they understand the value of their data to get the right service and that they can be confident that their data will be protected.

For example, ReMark GCS also shows that there is a strong correlation between wearable ownership and self-reported level of fitness. 65.2% of wearable-using respondents exercise for more than 20 minutes at least three times a week — compared to only 41.7% for those who don’t intend to get a device – which is essential information for designing the right products.”

The GCS study was conducted in 18 countries with over 10,000 people interviewed between the 12th and 20th May 2020. The fieldwork was cried out by Dynata with all analysis and results preparation being carried out by ReMark.




About ReMark:
ReMark is a leading insurance consultancy firm that delivers insights, marketing campaigns and tech solutions for some of the world’s most ambitious banks and insurers. Part of the SCOR group, ReMark helps clients gain, retain and engage policyholders by delivering the best consumer experience possible — from quote to claim.
For 35 years ReMark has conducted over 12,000 campaigns reaching nearly 1 billion people worldwide, underwriting 1 million policies every year. The group has now embarked on a three-year “Journey to InsurTech” to continue to pioneer industry-leading technology solutions; like the Velogica digital underwriting platform and the Good Life engagement app, powered by SCOR’s Biological Age Model BAM™[1] technology.
ReMark also conducts the largest global survey on Life Insurance customers each year — the Global Consumer Study — that provides insights, trends and analysis for the industry on relevant topics like health & wellness and AI.
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