How Covid changed our sense of security 

Once upon a time…we were children who loved to read and listen to fairy tales because they entertained us, but more importantly, they helped us learn about life, its lighter and darker sides, and those happily-ever-after endings offered a sense of security and stability. As adults, we seek the same. We seek challenges as well as harmony. On this journey, a person’s sense of security plays an important role. If you recall those psychology classes from high school, you’ll surely remember a guy called Abraham Maslow and his concept of the hierarchy of needs. In Maslow’s famous pyramid of needs, a sense of safety and security ranks second, right after the fulfilment of physiological needs.

With the onset of the pandemic, our sense of safety and security has come into question. For some, the pandemic managed to destabilize even the fundamental, basic needs. A recent survey commissioned by Allianz, which covered more than 5,000 respondents split equally across genders and ages between 18 and 65 years in Germany, France, the UK, Italy, and Spain, explored people’s perceptions around Covid-19 and the way it affected their sense of safety related to work, education, health, house and home, financials and relationships.

Among all respondents, around two-thirds of respondents experienced a high or very high impact on their daily lives due to the pandemic. The effect is highest in Spain (88 percent), where the pandemic hit early and hard and lowest in Germany (52 percent). Over half of all respondents say the pandemic has negatively affected their sense of security in daily life. Optimism has also taken a hit, with roughly 45 percent of all respondents believing they will continue to feel insecure by the end of 2021.

So, how has the pandemic changed us and our sense of safety? Let’s take a quick look at the areas we felt are most affected by the pandemic:

allianz covid security study

1) Worried about money and job opportunities

Nothing spells unease as the looming sense of financial instability with no new opportunities on the horizon. To be able to work and provide for yourself and your family is one of the basic human rights. What the survey revealed is that women and younger respondents experience greater anxiety about their financial security. Across all countries, women were between 3 and 9 percentage points more concerned than men about their financial situations, as a result of the pandemic. Generation Y, or Millennials, were similarly affected, being the most worried age group across all countries.
allianz covid security study
Over half of all respondents under the age of 30 face faltering confidence about finding employment after completing their studies, due to the pandemic, which was also highlighted in previous Allianz research. "Addressing these survey findings is very relevant for Allianz, as we have five generations in our workforce,” said Allianz SE Board Member Renate Wagner in her recent LinkedIn post. “We will continue to prioritize offering attractive and diverse jobs, and ensuring lifelong learning opportunities for our global employees of all generations.” 
allianz covid security study

2) More doubt toward governments’ decisions

As the Edelman Trust Barometer summarized at the beginning of 2021, the pandemic put trust to the test, with governments facing the biggest loss of trust.

As our survey shows, governments’ decisions around masks and the restrictions imposed on the number of customers in a shop have been perceived as more safe and secure, while the closure of shops, bars etc. and travel restrictions have instilled a sense of greater insecurity in all five countries. In Germany, school closures and curfews appear to be more polarizing than in other countries. 

allianz covid security study

3) Spending more on home décor and personal safety

The pandemic changed the structure of our expenses and we seem to be less interested in entertainment and travel as well as fashion and public transport, but we do tend to spend more money on electronics, savings, home, and healthcare.

Interestingly, spending on insurance mostly remained the same, or even decreased, although there was some interest in taking out additional policies to mitigate future uncertainty. Overall, residents in Spain and Italy showed the greatest interest in taking out additional policies, namely home insurance and “other” P/C insurance.

allianz covid security study

4) Keeping more to ourselves?

With curfews, travel, and contact restrictions, we seemed to turn more toward watching TV, reading news, and consuming social media, especially in Spain and Italy. 

About a quarter of respondents are talking less often to their friends about how they feel, but almost just as many state the contrary in Spain and Italy. In the UK, Germany and France, people tend to have fewer conversations about their feelings with their friends.

5) We don’t travel as much, but we’d still like to

Sometimes you just need to get away. But when you can’t, escaping through a book is the next best thing. We seem to agree as books sales defied the pandemic.

The pandemic has inevitably changed the behavior and mindsets of travelers. Amid all the short- and long-term changes, the tourism industry will also need to rethink its approach to customers who now value safety and security as important factors when choosing their destinations and accommodation.

Still, traveling will continue to evolve and we are slowly restarting tourism. According to our survey, respondents in Italy (36 percent) and France (30 percent) are more willing to travel to risk regions, while Germans (18 percent) and Spaniards (19 percent) remain more cautious. 

6) Family and friends are our safe haven

If the pandemic has taught us anything is that the relationships we form and nurture with our families, friends, and communities offer a strong sense of safety and security. The majority of respondents reported deepened family relationships. 
The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 737 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.7 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of December 31, 2023.

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Siân Taylor
Allianz SE
As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements:

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