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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

By March 15, 2020April 15th, 2020No Comments

Greetings from Encore and what feels like the Twilight Zone!

First of all – if any of you have suffered illness or death to a loved one, from COVID-19 or anything, we extend our sympathies. Please let us know what we can do. And for those of you who may have completely lost your job, we can at least help with adjusting your insurance and payment schedule.

Some updates:

We still have limited staff in the office and we are keeping a box just outside for payments. If you do not see one of us go outside to get it before you leave the parking lot, please call, and leave a message if we do not answer. We are often on the phone and cannot get outside immediately. It helps if you bring your payment coupon and put it in the envelope.

New phones are being installed on Wednesday. I suspect this will cause some disruption! I will do my best to handle the incoming calls and forward to my staff who are working remotely. Email works great and we can call you if more details are needed. Since most of us are working from home, until our new system is working properly, you may receive calls from an unrecognized number. Thanks for working with us.

Now on to the FUN news! Who wants a refund on their auto insurance because they are not going anywhere? It’s hard to miss the news that many companies are offering credits due to lower accident costs as a result of reduced driving. Unfortunately, they don’t always mention “subject to state approval”. As of this morning, these have not yet been approved in NC. NC has anti-rebating laws for good reason, but it makes this type of quick refund challenging. The commissioner IS working with companies for a solution so that policyholders can reap this benefit too. Here is what I know about my companies so far:

Erie – They are currently taking a more long-term approach with a 5% reduction for every policyholder at their next renewal beginning in July, for personal and commercial auto policies. This does not help people now, but is actually more money returned than 15% for 2 months. It takes time for this to be approved in the insurance departments as they also have to oversee the financial stability of all insurance companies and the future of driving and accidents are unknown! Also – keep in mind that other activity on your policy, like adding drivers or cars, or generating points will offset that 5% and more.

Travelers – Their proposal of 15% credit for April and May premiums is still under review. If you paid in full, they will refund that amount. So far, this only applies to personal auto policies.

Progressive – Their proposal of 20% reduction for April and May is still under review. They will refund the same amount if you are paid up. This applies to personal auto insurance only.

National General – They are adhering to payment flexibility guidelines, but are currently not adjusting rates.

State Auto – They have a 30 day deferral for payments, but are currently not adjusting rates.

Utica – Their proposal of a 15% reduction on April and May is also under review and they will also refund if you have already paid in full.

Dairyland – They have no taken any rate action yet, but are offering a payment grace period through May 15th.

Note that ALL companies are required to defer all cancellations for non-payment. Late fees are being forgiven with grace periods extended. Keep in mind this does not eliminate what is owed, so it is still best to keep up as best you can so you do not fall too far behind. Please call us for your unique situation.

Note that so far these credits only apply to auto policies, not RV’s or motorcycles.

Business Customers – I will address in a separate email some things that are happening in a COVID world with loss of income coverage, workers compensation, and restaurant delivery.

I have been impressed with how insurance companies are stepping up to help. In addition to helping customers, all of these companies are donating to non-profits like the American Red Cross, Feeding America, The United Way, military and retired military organizations, making medical equipment donations, donations to local food banks, First Responders, and many more. It is great to see our industry and other industries make a difference. In addition, having been in the industry for over 30 years now, I know most insurance agency owners want the best for their employees. Most are accommodating working from home for everyone’s safety despite the challenges.

Thank you for your support and I will continue to keep you posted! Stay safe and healthy!