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Fact Check-Life insurance not denied on grounds of COVID-19 vaccination

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A video is circulating online with a false claim that companies are refusing life insurance payments to relatives of people in the US who have received COVID-19 vaccines after French courts allegedly supported a decision that the vaccinated aren’t covered by life insurance. The French Ministry of Justice said it has no record of such a case, however, and the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) denied the allegations.

The video and claims that life insurance companies are denying life insurance payouts to beneficiaries of COVID-vaccinated people who have died have been shared across social media (here , here , here , here , here , here). In one instance, the video gained more than 42,000 views (here).

The clip was originally posted on Mar. 16 by America’s Frontline Doctors, a group which has previously shared claims that have been fact-checked by Reuters and other fact-checkers (here).

In the clip (here), a speaker from the group claims that a life insurance company denied a payout for a French businessman who took out cover “worth millions” because he saw the COVID-19 vaccine as a “medical experiment” and not a “covered entity”.

The decision was supported by French courts, the speaker adds, because it saw the death as a “suicide” given COVID-19 vaccination is a “choice”.

The speaker goes on to suggest that US life insurers are also rejecting claims concerning those who have been vaccinated, claiming the ACLI said life insurance policies “may deny payment if you die from the COVID-19 vaccine because they are experimental drugs”.

However, the claims have been dispelled by the French Ministry of Justice, the ACLI and life insurance authorities.

America’s Frontline Doctors did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

French ‘businessman’

The viral video credits information on the French case to a Jan. 14 article from a multi-language blog allegedly based in Greece (here). This blog credits the claims to a German article (here).

He says that a French judge backed the decision of an insurance company to refuse to give an elderly man’s life insurance pay-out because he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, resulting in “death after vaccination” now being considered suicide by courts in France .

However, the French justice ministry told Reuters it has no record of the case.

“The Ministry of Justice has no knowledge of this alleged claim concerning a French court supporting the decision of insurance companies’ refusal to pay out for life insurance due to death following COVID-19 vaccine,” a representative told Reuters by email.

Life insurance in the US

Posts claiming life insurers deny payouts for those who receive COVID-19 vaccines have circulated online since at least Mar. 2021.

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However, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), which represents 280 life insurance companies, told Reuters that such claims are “misinformation” and that COVID-19 vaccines are not linked to denial of insurance claims.

The council published a statement on its website in Sept. 2021 following earlier iterations of the claim circulating online (www.acli.com/posting/nr21-045).

ACLI Senior Health Actuary Jan Graeber said: “Life insurance policies are very clear on how they work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a claim. A policyholder’s decision to receive or not receive a vaccine for COVID-19 is not one of them. Nothing has changed in life insurers’ claims paying process.

The ACLI also denied viewing the vaccines as experimental, here .

Reuters previously addressed false claims that COVID-19 vaccination affects life insurance (here).

State level organizations addressing the misinformation in 2021 include the Louisiana Department of Insurance (here), the New York Department of Financial Services (here) and the Texas Department of Insurance (here).

COVID-19 vaccine safety

Reports of death after COVID-19 vaccination are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here.

Out of more than 559 million doses administered up to Mar. 28, 2022 in the US, the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) had received 13,637 (0.0024%) unconfirmed reports of death after COVID -19 vaccinations.

A review of reports identified nine deaths caused by or directly attributed to thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) following Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC said the adverse event was rare (here).

COVID-19 vaccines are not considered experimental by experts (here).

VERDICT

False. COVID-19 vaccines are not linked to denial of life insurance claims. The French Ministry of Justice said it had no knowledge of a French court supporting insurance companies’ refusal to pay out for deaths following COVID-19 vaccination.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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