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Insurers reduce premiums during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted On: Apr. 7, 2020 12:31 PM CST

Insurers reduce premiums during COVID-19 pandemic

Small-business insurer Next Insurance is reducing April premiums by 25% for general liability, professional liability and commercial auto insurance customers, Next CEO Guy Goldstein said in an online letter to policyholders.

“For us, it was crucial to help our customers, the small-business owners, reduce their overhead as they navigate a new reality with COVID-19,” Mr. Goldstein said in the Friday letter.

The reduction in business levels and transportation activities has reduced commensurate exposure levels, leading to the reductions, the letter said.

Mr. Goldstein said that “if people are at home and rarely driving, they should be paying less for auto insurance.”

On Monday, Allstate announced a “Shelter-in-Place Payback” in which most policyholders should get a 15% reduction in their monthly premiums in April and May.

“This crisis is pervasive. Given an unprecedented decline in driving, customers will receive a Shelter-in-Place Payback of more than $600 million over the next two months. This is fair because less driving means fewer accidents,” Tom Wilson, Allstate chairman, president and CEO, said in the Monday statement.

Allstate is also providing free identity protection for the rest of the year to all U.S residents who sign up, “since our lives have become more digital,” Mr. Wilson said.

Also Monday, American Family Insurance said it will return approximately $200 million to its personal auto insurance customers through a one-time payment of $50 per vehicle covered.

American Family said it expects to complete the printing and distribution of all 2.3 million checks within 60 days.

“They are driving less and experiencing fewer claims. … They deserve premium relief,” Telisa Yancy, American Family chief operating officer, said in a statement.

In the commercial insurance sector, businesses are calculating exposure reductions and preparing to negotiate with carriers for premium reductions.

The Travelers Companies Inc. said it will accelerate more than $100 million of commission payments to eligible agents and brokers to aid with liquidity.

The commissions were accrued in the ordinary course of business during the first quarter, and the program will not have a significant impact on the company’s results, Travelers said in its Friday statement.

“We want to show our agent and broker partners, many of whom are small-business owners, our support at this challenging time,” Alan Schnitzer, chairman and CEO of Travelers, said in the statement.

Bob Rusbuldt, president and CEO of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, said the Travelers Distribution Support Plan takes insurers’ support “to a whole new level.”

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.