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Some auto insurers offer discounts as COVID-19 curtails driving

Jack Stewart Apr 7, 2020
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Driving is down 35% to 50% across the country, meaning fewer crashes, Allstate CEO Tom Wilson says. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
COVID-19

Some auto insurers offer discounts as COVID-19 curtails driving

Jack Stewart Apr 7, 2020
Driving is down 35% to 50% across the country, meaning fewer crashes, Allstate CEO Tom Wilson says. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

People are driving less these days so some car insurance companies are offering discounts to customers.

Mike Altschwager lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and like a lot of people he’s working from home now.

“Amusingly enough, I actually just purchased a new car about three weeks ago,” Altschwager said.

And now that new car is sitting idle in the driveway. But he’s still paying for insurance, and questioning that.

“Nobody knows what next week looks like financially,” Altschwager said.

His insurance company isn’t offering a discount, yet, but a couple of others are. American Family Insurance says its customers will be getting $50 per vehicle. Allstate says it’ll give a 15% credit for two months.

Driving is down 35% to 50% across the country, meaning fewer crashes, Allstate CEO Tom Wilson said.

“If you have fewer accidents, then our costs go down, and we think it’s fair to give our customers payback at this time when they need the money a lot,” Wilson said.

The insurance market is highly competitive, says Cathy Seifert at CFRA research.

“I think it’s a smart move from a customer retention standpoint, from a loyalty standpoint,” Seifert said. She says this could be a savvy investment in goodwill.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What’s the outlook for vaccine supply?

Chief executives of America’s COVID-19 vaccine makers promised in congressional testimony to deliver the doses promised to the U.S. government by summer. The projections of confidence come after months of supply chain challenges and companies falling short of year-end projections for 2020. What changed? In part, drugmakers that normally compete are now actually helping one another. This has helped solve several supply chain issues, but not all of them.

How has the pandemic changed scientific research?

Over the past year, while some scientists turned their attention to COVID-19 and creating vaccines to fight it, most others had to pause their research — and re-imagine how to do it. Social distancing, limited lab capacity — “It’s less fun, I have to say. Like, for me the big part of the science is discussing the science with other people, getting excited about projects,” said Isabella Rauch, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Funding is also a big question for many.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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