Senator Ridgell wants auto insurers to rebate customers for COVID lockdown period

Senator Clynt Ridgell (file photo)

Senator Clynt Ridgell says he’s written a letter to the Insurance Association of Guam and to various auto insurers on island asking them to either provide a discount, or refund for payments made during the pandemic to their customers.

Numerous national auto insurers have given refunds to their customers, because traffic on public roadways decreased significantly as many drivers stayed home during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. This reduction in traffic meant a reduction in risk and a reduction in accidents which in turn means a reduction in costs for auto insurance companies.

“When Guam was first declared to be in PCOR1 by i Maga’hågan Guåhan in March of this year, the island community did their part to slow the spread of the virus and stayed at home, and therefore did minimal to no driving. Because many people have not returned to work yet, that driving is still significantly less than it was pre-pandemic, and because of this decrease in the amount of driving, Senator Ridgell urges auto insurance companies to refund or provide a discount on their premiums during the pandemic to their customers,” reads the statement.

“Many families are struggling financially. They’re worried about how they are going to pay their mounting bills. National insurers gave rebates to their customers because they realized their customers weren’t driving as much. On Guam, our roadways were practically empty. It only makes sense that local insurers should give rebates to their customers as well,” said the Senator.

Ridgell says many insurance companies across the country have provided some form of relief to their customers. Here is a list of auto insurance companies and the rebates they have given as reported by the AARP:

  • Allstate, the nation’s fourth largest auto insurer, refunded 15 percent of customers’ monthly premiums in April, May and June. The paybacks amounted to more than $1 billion.
  • American Family Insurance of Madison, Wisconsin, the ninth-largest firm, issued a onetime repayment in April of $50 for each vehicle on its automotive policies. The company has since introduced a new program, offering a 10 percent monthly credit on auto-policy payments through the end of the year.
  • Farmers Insurance of Woodland Hills, California, the seventh-largest firm, reduced premiums for Farmers and 21st Century auto-policy holders by 25 percent for April and by 15 percent for May. New York customers got a onetime 40 percent refund.
  • Geico, is giving a 15 percent credit on up to six months of premiums for customers who renew or buy motor vehicle policies between April 8 and Oct. 7. The refunds will total about $2.5 billion.
  • The Hartford, whose policies include AARP-branded auto insurance, gave customers a 15 percent refund on their personal auto premiums for April, May and June.
  • Liberty Mutual, the sixth-largest auto insurer, gave auto-policy holders a 15 percent refund on two months of their annual premium. That returned about $250 million to customers.
  • Nationwide, the No. 8 auto insurance carrier, provided a onetime premium refund of $50 for each personal auto policy in effect March 31. The refund is the equivalent of 15 percent of an average bill for two months.
  • Progressive Insurance, whose corporate headquarters are in the Cleveland suburb of Mayfield Village, Ohio, gave a 20 percent credit on April and May premiums to customers with personal auto insurance. In New York the credits were applied in May and June. The credits are estimated to be worth about $1 billion.
  • State Farm, the country’s largest auto insurer, paid an average 25 percent credit on auto-policy holders’ premiums from March 20 to May 31. State Farm also cut auto rates by an average of 11 percent nationally because of changing driving behavior. This saved customers an estimated $4.2 billion.
  • Travelers, the nation’s 10th-largest auto insurer, provided customers a 15 percent premium credit for April, May and June.
  • USAA, offered a 20 percent credit on three months of premiums to its auto insurance customers.

(News Release from Senator Clynt Ridgell)