Of those that did respond, each said they would never, ever try to recoup recent discounts while renewing people’s policies for the remainder of the year, even though rates may be increasing.
Tammy Kotula, an Allstate spokeswoman, said the company “will continue to evaluate driving data and make decisions that put customers first.”
I asked why some people’s rates are going up despite the fact that driving for the most part remains down. Kotula declined to elaborate.
Joe Case, a Nationwide spokesman, said the company isn’t focusing on the here and now when it comes to premiums.
“Nationwide is taking the longer view while continuing to monitor consumer driving behaviors and how they impact future miles driven and accident frequencies,” he said.
On the other hand, State Farm says it’s cutting rates. Sevag Sarkissian, a company spokesman, said State Farm plans to lower people’s premiums over coming months by an average of 6.5%.
Vehicle insurers began 2020 with a solid financial cushion. Providers of property coverage pocketed more than $61 billion in profit
last year, up slightly from the year before, according to the American Property Casualty Insurance Assn.
The trade group now sees “a period of increased uncertainty due to the coronavirus,” and says “insurers will be closely monitoring legislative, regulatory and lawsuit abuse trends that could negatively impact the industry’s financial stability.”
That’s an issue for shareholders, to be sure, but it doesn’t change the fact that most of us still aren’t driving, and the circumstances that warranted discounts a few months ago are largely unchanged today.
This isn’t like saying homeowners deserve a break on their insurance premiums because their neighborhood hasn’t burned down. Insurance is a way of managing the unknown, and you never know when a fire might erupt.
When it comes to vehicle coverage, however, the coverage criteria are very much known.
If you’re not driving because of circumstances beyond your control, your risk of an accident is greatly reduced and the insurer’s exposure to potential losses is accordingly lower.
“The number of cars on the road continues to be a fraction of normal as governments extend shelter-in-place orders and roll back business reopenings due to re-spiking virus cases,” said Amy Bach, executive director of the advocacy group United Policyholders.
She said it shouldn’t take an order from the insurance commissioner for coverage providers to do right. “They should do it now, voluntarily,” Bach said.
Janet Ruiz, a spokeswoman for the industry-backed Insurance Information Institute, said that if the cost of your coverage goes up but your driving habits haven’t changed since the pandemic began, contact your provider and ask if a rate reduction is possible.
That’s good advice, but you see what’s happening, right?
The first time around, insurers took it upon themselves to treat people fairly. Now they’re saying that if you want fair treatment, you may need to ask for it.
That is, as they say, very on-brand for the insurance industry.