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MASSPIRG calls for auto insurance refunds and lower premiums
Insurance companies promised COVID-19 relief to customers, but barely doled out any
BOSTON -- MASSPIRG is calling on state Commissioner of Insurance Gary Anderson to review auto insurance rates, premiums and losses, and to require insurers to refund premiums out of their excess profits, which have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When the pandemic hit, Americans began driving significantly less. Auto insurance companies benefited from reduced miles driven and fewer crashes,” said Deirdre Cummings, Legislative Director, MASSPIRG. “And because insurance companies make money when they don’t have to pay for accidents and other claims, the pandemic increased their profits by tens of billions of dollars.”
Given the significant and prolonged reduction in driving and as a result, in accidents, MASSPIRG is calling on Commissioner Anderson to ensure that auto insurance companies give drivers appropriate premium reductions and refunds now. Members of the state Gateway Cities Legislative Caucus also called for immediate premium reductions in a recent letter to the Commissioner.
While most insurance companies did provide some relief to consumers in the spring, according to MASSPIRG’s recently released state by state analysis, only 18 out of 71 leading companies returned at least 50 percent of one month’s premium. Only eight returned at least one month’s premium.
“The insurers’ increased profits greatly outweigh that half-month’s premiums,” said Cummings.
In Massachusetts, MASSPIRG found that GEICO, USAA, Plymouth Rock and Arbella offered better relief than their competitors.
Geico gave a 15% credit for an entire policy renewed between April 8 and Oct 7.
Plymouth Rock gave a 25% credit in April on liability and personal injury protection coverages. until the stay-at-home orders end in each state.
Arbella gave a 20% credit for April through June.
Progressive gave a 20% credit for April and May.
Travelers gave a 15% credit for April, May and June.
Liberty Mutual gave a 15% rebate for two months.
Metlife gave a 15% credit for two months.
MAPFRE gave a 15% credit for April and May.
Safety gave a 15% credit for April, May and June.
“Providing refunds now is especially important with many of our family, friends and neighbors here in Massachusetts facing significant hardships as a result of COVID-19,” concluded Cummings.
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