Research from protection specialist LV= highlights how the physical and mental health of the general public is being affected by the coronavirus outbreak. As part of a series of surveys into the financial and emotional wellbeing of 4,000 UK consumers reveals that lockdown has benefitted the general population’s physical health with people taking more exercise, and eating more healthily.
But it is also taking a toll on their mental health with nearly half (44%) of those surveyed saying they are more stressed and anxious than normal.
The key points of the research are:
- More than a third of people surveyed (34%) say they are doing more exercise than they normally would
- 30% say they are eating more healthily than three months ago and have more time to cook meals from scratch
But while our physical health is improving, the nation’s mental health has suffered:
- 44% of those surveyed say they have felt more stressed or anxious than normal with 50% of women feeling this way
- Three in ten (29%) consumers have experienced a decrease in income from work over the past three months and 31% are more worried about money than normal
- Nearly one in four people surveyed (23%) expect their financial position to worsen over the next three months
Mental health (29%) is the single biggest reason for claims on LV=‘s income protection policies.
LV= has handled £6m in coronavirus-related income protection and death claims to over 600 individuals and families since the start of the pandemic.
As unemployment rises after the rapid downturn in High Street retailing and the lockdown restrictions affect the hospitality and events sectors long term, the stress that many people are under is likely to increase in 2021 when the furlough and grant money runs out.
Debbie Kennedy, Director of Protection at LV=, said:
“The coronavirus crisis has revealed very suddenly just how exposed we are to sudden shocks. The need to build resilience into our lives has never been more relevant or urgent. The virus has not only had a devastating impact on physical health, it also has a huge effect on our mental health.
“We understand the emotional impact of bereavement and are doing all we can to make sure death claims are paid as quickly as possible so that families do not have to worry about the immediate financial impact of bereavement while they are grieving.
“However, fears about the financial impact of coronavirus, impending jobs losses and isolation caused by lockdown are all factors behind the general population’s rising anxiety levels. The outbreak has revealed just how precarious the finances of many people are, particularly those who are self-employed, and highlights the benefits of protecting income.
“LV= offers a variety of emotional and practical support services to members who are struggling to cope including LV= Doctor Services.”
LV= Member support services
LV= offers members emotional and practical support that they can access every day.
LV= Doctor Services provides members with access to six expert medical services provided by Square Health. Over the COVID period LV= has seen an uplift in LV= Dr Services app downloads and increase in remote GP appointments.
Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, LV= has introduced measures to help members keep their policy in place.
- A premium reduction option for members with income protection, critical illness, life insurance and business protection policies can reduce their cover and premium amount for up to six months.
- ‘Payment break’ financial support for qualifying members. Funded through the LV= Member Support Fund, payment breaks are offered a month at a time, for up to three months, to members experiencing financial distress.
LV= members facing extraordinary or unusual circumstances can apply for financial or practical support through LV=’s Member Support Fund. If they meet the criteria, this could be a lump sum payment to help them through hardship.
Last year LV= supported 75 members with a total of £98,000.Since lockdown was announced on 23 March, LV= has supported 26 members who have been directly impacted by the pandemic to the total of £13,000.