In 2018, more than 9,600 goldmine insurance claim claims were filed by the Goldmine Insurance Corp., an insurance firm specializing in claims for gold mining claims, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
In the past year, the company received a record amount of claims, more often from those with the highest claims.
“The insurance industry is very healthy, and it’s still in good shape,” said Patrick Mancuso, a vice president at the institute.
Goldmine claims are a major driver of COVID-19 costs for insurance companies.
They can often take a decade to pay out, so insurers need to take advantage of the surge in claims to cut their costs.
The industry says its insurance policies are not meant to cover COVID outbreaks, but rather to help cover the costs of people with medical problems, such as arthritis or heart conditions, who are more likely to have COVIDs.
Goldmines claims are often the first to be filed, Mancs said.
The claims have risen sharply in recent years, but Manc said they are not a reflection of rising COVID cases.
“If you take COVID epidemics out of the mix, it’s not going to drive premiums up, and I don’t think that’s necessarily what’s happening,” he said.
“It’s likely that COVID is a bigger driver of premium increases in the short term.”
In the long run, Manchuso said, insurers are likely to continue to pay more for claims.
Gold Mines of Canada reported its fourth-quarter financial results Thursday, and CEO John Lissner said the company saw an increase in gold mine claims in the fourth quarter.
“We did see a surge in goldmine claims for the fourth-half,” he told a conference call.
The company, which is in the process of closing its mines in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, said it expects to make about $2 billion in COVID claims this year.
Lisserson said the rise in claims could help the company reduce its risk, as it will need to cover the additional costs of caring for its workers.
“What I think people are going to see is that we will not be able to be completely satisfied,” Lissier said.
He said Goldmine is also in the middle of a multiyear agreement with a U.S. mining company to cover a COVID outbreak in the state of Utah, but he did not say when that agreement will be completed.
GoldMine said its total costs for COVID have dropped significantly in recent months, although it did not provide a specific figure.
“I think people will look at this and be really surprised,” Manci said.
Insurance claims and COVID costs were the largest source of COHIV-related hospitalizations in 2018, but that number is expected to drop this year, Manticuso predicted.
“In the next several months, I expect COHV to be more of a primary driver of hospitalization and COHVI,” he added.