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We expect insurance claims will recover to pre-pandemic levels this year: Aflac CEO

Aflac Chairman & CEO Dan Amos joins 'Influencers with Andy Serwer' to discuss COVID-19 and it's impact on the insurance business.

Video Transcript

- Tell me what's going on with Aflac? I'm asking all CEOs this.

- Right, right.

- COVID-- what did COVID mean to your business? And then as we recover, how's that going for your company?

- Well, I've always believed that with change comes opportunity. And so you have to look for how and where you can improve. The change has been how quickly we've had to change toward technology.

And in the US, you generally have 20% of the Americans will change with anything, 60% are the herd, and 20% don't want to change no matter what. So it-- as we have seen more and more technology and more and more of a paperless company that we are, it has driven our salespeople specifically to higher technology, and that's been good. So from that standpoint, we're liking it.

Now it hurt sales the first year because we did so much sales to the employer at the worksite or the employees at the worksite, and we had to then change over and start doing Zoom meetings or whatever it would be that would be different. And so it's been quite a change. The good thing is is that our policyholders during this medical crisis have kept their policies in force, so our earned premium has continued to grow. So from that standpoint, we're OK.

- Right. And my understanding is that you had a low use of insurance during the pandemic. So I guess that's a low level of claims during the pandemic?

- Well, we have. We're just not sure if we're still going to have more claims. Let me give you an example.

This is-- I have a friend whose wife was diagnosed with cancer, but she couldn't go last year. And when she finally was able to go just to have a regular checkup, it had moved from what would have been an early stage 1 to a stage 3. Now, hopefully, they've gotten it, and they've taken care of it, but what you don't know with these statistics-- and it takes time to find out-- is if they are a higher level. Then the chances of needing more treatments that are more costly grow.

So we're not sure yet how much is out there in the future claims that will come. At the same time, people didn't go to the doctor to use our wellness benefits. And so we encourage people to use wellness because early detections means saving people's lives and also lower claims cost.

- But are you starting to see the sort of normalization of your business? And can you sort of quantify that? I mean, are you 75% back, or is it hard to tell still?

- Well, it's coming back. It was still-- I can't get into all the statistics because earnings will be out pretty soon, but I can tell you that what we said in our conference call was we expected claims to recover and go back to normalcy of what they were in 2019 within, certainly, the-- by a quarter of the second half of the year.