Car insurance industry promises rebates amid COVID-19 lockdowns

Canada’s insurance industry is promising rebates and relief for customers struggling to keep up with their bills amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, which speaks on behalf of insurance companies, says its members are offering “substantial consumer relief measures” that they think will add up to $600 million worth of rebates and discounts.

“This is an incredibly challenging and uncertain time for many Canadians, and insurers want to help alleviate some of the financial burden for the most vulnerable. Insurers understand that many drivers are no longer commuting or using their vehicle as regularly, which could result in savings,” CEO Don Forgeron said.

While the IBC announcement stops well short of an across-the-board rate reduction, some insurers have come out with details of their own programs.

Allstate Canada says it will be refunding its car insurance customers $30 million on their May bills in the form of a one-time “stay at home payment” of roughly 25 per cent.

“We recognize that with fewer people driving, there are fewer collisions on our roads,” CEO Ryan Michel said. “As a result, we are giving more than $30 million back to our customers. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

The move comes on the heels of a similar program unveiled by Allstate’s U.S. parent earlier this week that will see an across-the-board cut of 15 per cent to all car insurance premiums. Other U.S. insurers including Geico and Liberty Mutual have announced similar programs.

Other Canadian programs

Quebec-based insurer La Capitale announced a similar program on Tuesday, with a rebate of approximately 20 per cent.

“The collective effort by Quebec residents to respect the COVID-19 confinement measures is having a tangible impact on the frequency of automobile losses,” CEO Jean St-Gelais said. “This reduction in risk should be reflected in the premium our insureds pay.”

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