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VERIFY: Are life insurance companies denying payouts because the COVID vaccine is 'experimental'?

Manulife says a viral claim circulating online is not accurate. The Verify team talked to the experts for more info.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

One user online claims that their insurance company, Manulife, would not pay out their policy if they died from the COVID-19 vaccine because “the vaccine is experimental.” Is this true?

ANSWER:

No.

SOURCES:

  • Manulife- Official Twitter, FAQ page
  • Jan Graeber- Senior Actuary, American Council of Life Insurers
  • American Council of Life Insurers- statement
  • Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.- statement

PROCESS:

A Facebook user published a warning that's been shared hundreds of times. It claims that insurance company Manulife would not pay out their policy if they died from the COVID-19 vaccine since "the vaccine is experimental."

Screengrabs of the text have crossed onto other social media platforms, too.

First, let's address the science: all the vaccines have gone through rigorous testing and have been deemed safe and effective by health officials. 

Now, let's get to the question.

Our main source is the company itself, Manulife. On Twitter, the company has been responding to people over and over, and referring them to their FAQ page.

"The COVID-19 vaccination in no way negatively impacts your current insurance policies or valid Group Benefits coverage, nor does it factor into new insurance applications you may apply for with us," Manulife says.

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association recently issued a statement debunking the claim.

"Contrary to misinformation being shared online, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will have no effect on the ability to obtain coverage or benefits from life insurance or supplementary health insurance," the association said. "The CLHIA is aware of misinformation that is being spread through social media claiming that individuals who get the vaccine will not be able to get life insurance or may be denied their disability or life insurance benefits. These claims are incorrect and have no basis in fact whatsoever."

But our Verify researchers didn't stop there.

We called up The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), a trade association based in D.C. that represents the life insurance industry in the U.S., to find out whether there’s any truth to these posts.

"It's really an incorrect and unfortunate rumor that's going around," Jan Graeber, a senior actuary at ACLI said. “Insurance companies pay death benefits on policies, when the insured dies, regardless of the cause of death, except in very narrow and limited circumstances.”

ACLI issued a statement on March 12 combating the claim. 

"Life insurance policy contracts are very clear on how policies work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a benefit. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not one of them," ACLI said.

So we can Verify, false, life Insurance companies are not refusing to payout if you die from complications after getting the vaccine, since it’s "experimental." 

It’s always a good idea to be skeptical of posts like these that incite fear. The facts are the CDC says the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Between December 14- March 8 there have been more than 1,600 reports of death among people who got a COVID-19 vaccine; However, a review by both the CDC and the FDA quote “revealed that no evidence that vaccination contributed to patient deaths.” 

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, in most cases you can get life insurance after testing positive for COVID-19