As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, insurers are committing substantial capital toward helping their agents, clients and employees weather the ongoing crisis.
Companies including Travelers, Chubb, Allstate, American Family and Next Insurance are among those who have launched programs or initiatives. Their efforts come as federal and state governments are increasingly pushing insurers to retroactively cover coronavirus-related business interruption losses. Instead, industry groups have pushed for voluntary industry action toward helping businesses and others facing COVID-19 disruptions.
As well, the P/C insurance industry has joined a broad business coalition in supporting and crafting a new federal relief fund for businesses and workers harmed by the quarantine and corresponding stay-at-home measures.
Below, we highlight some of the carrier initiatives now underway.
- Travelers. The Travelers Companies said it will quicken commission payments of more than $100 million to eligible agents and brokers to help address COVID-19-related liquidity worries. Accelerated commissions involve business conducted during the 2019 first quarter; Travelers added it does not expect the payments to have a big impact on its results.
In addition, Travelers has pledged $5 million to COVID-19 relief efforts for families and their communities in North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is also suspending cancellation and nonrenewal of coverage due to nonpayment through May 15 for all of its U.S. customers. More digital and virtual tools are also now coming into play for claims and audits and workers compensation (telemedicine and tele-rehabilitation). As well, Travelers repurposed its Hartford, Conn., kitchen facilities to help nonprofits prepare and deliver meals.
- Chubb. The global insurer has committed to not laying off any of its 33,000 employees during the coronavirus pandemic. It is also pledging $10 million for global pandemic relief efforts.
Plans call for using the $10 million to support people and programs providing emergency front-line services. The money will also support the most financially vulnerable members of the community who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Donations will come through the Chubb Charitable Foundation.
Chubb Chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg said the no-layoff pledge is meant to assure the company’s employees “that their jobs are secure at this difficult time.”
- Allstate. The property/casualty insurer said that its Allstate, Esurance and Encompass personal auto insurance customers will get a “Shelter-in-Place Payback” – a premium credit designed to address the fact that people are driving less during the pandemic.
How it will work: Most customers will receive 15 percent of their monthly premium in April and May, paybacks expected to surpass $600 million. Customers will receive the money through a credit to their bank account, credit card or Allstate account. Allstate said its Allstate Mobile app will be the fastest way to enable the payback, and that it is working with state insurance regulators to make it happen.
In all, Allstate’s telematics data has shown people are driving 35 percent to 50 percent fewer miles in most states.
In addition, Allstate said it is making its Allstate Identity Protection product free for the rest of the year with no opt-out requirement. The product helps protect customers from identity theft and financial fraud, and Allstate said it is extending the cover because cybercrime exposures are likely higher with more people working, taking classes and visiting friends virtually.
- American Family Insurance. The Wisconsin-based insurer said it will be returning $200 million to its auto insurance customers because of less driving and risk during the pandemic.
American Family said it will do this through a one-time full payment of $50 per vehicle covered by one of the insurer’s auto policies. American Family households typically have auto coverage for two vehicles, so the average relief check will be $100, the insurer said.
Checks go out to Wisconsin customers starting this week. Payments to customers in the company’s additional 18 operating states will go out once their insurance regulators approve the transaction as they did in Wisconsin. Payments will be based on personal auto policies in force as of March 11, 2020, the day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
- Next Insurance. The InsurTech said it is cutting April premiums by 25 percent for its customers with general liability, professional liability and commercial auto policies in an effort to help them survive the COVID-19 crisis. The company’s founder and CEO, Guy Goldstein, said he is challenging other insurers to do the same.
This 25 percent reduction in April premium will only apply to customers written on State National Insurance Co. and Next Insurance paper, which the company said is the majority of eligible policies. It applies to those who pay monthly or paid their full annual premium up front and who purchased coverage before March 1.
The discount is subject to state regulatory approval. As of April 4, the company said 38 states have approved it.
Sources: Travelers, Chubb, Allstate, American Family, Next Insurance
*Material from Insurance Journal was used for this story.