When it comes to the coronavirus outbreak, 39% of life insurers see it as being similar in severity to a SARS-like (or moderate) pandemic, according to a survey from Limra, a trade group for life insurance and financial services companies.

Another 26% of survey respondents consider it to be more similar to a severe flu season. Only 16% of life insurance companies view coronavirus as having the potential to be a severe pandemic with higher mortality than either SARS or the flu.

Insurers are running a variety of virus scenarios in order to assess and plan, according to the survey. Some 91% of companies have a pandemic stress scenario in place. In addition, 71% have assessed and quantified the potential impact on their key businesses in the event of higher mortality.

“It’s reassuring to know that our member companies are planning for what they would do and how a pandemic might impact their customers,” Marianne Purushotham, Limra’s corporate vice president, said in a statement.

Since life insurers are in the business of assessing and mitigating risk in order to profitably underwrite life insurance products, stress modeling and strategic modeling will allow them to respond to the challenges that the coronavirus could present, Purushotham added.

According to Limra’s survey, most insurers reported they develop and run their own pandemic stress scenario, while 40% are running scenarios based on the 1918 flu pandemic.

In all, 70% of companies said they are running these scenarios as if something were to happen on a pandemic level.