The Co-operators introduces a reduced driving refund for member policyholders

Tuesday, 05 May 2020

Member policyholders of Canadian ICMIF member The Co-operators who have seen the COVID-19 restrictions in place in Canada affect the amount that they drive, can now reduce their auto insurance premium with the organisation’s Reduced Driving Refund.

With the Reduced Driving Refund, eligible Auto clients* will receive a minimum 10% refund on the premium they paid from 1 April to 31 May 2020. If eligible, refunds will be applied to policies, starting in July. Policies must be active on May 31 to qualify.

Moreover, The Co-operators says, if auto clients continue to drive less and claims continue to decrease, an even larger refund may apply for their members thanks to the belief within the organisation that it is only fair to share the benefit of reduced claims with members.

More ways for members to reduce their premiums

To ease financial pressures even further, members of The Co-operators can take advantage of flexible payment options, extended payment grace periods and more. If members are driving less, their vehicle policy can also be reviewed – and changed, where applicable. For example, “use of vehicle” can be changed from commute to pleasure, while coverage for stored vehicles can be suspended or reduced.

Payment relief

The Co-operators has recognised that clients may need more time to pay their premiums due to the disruption of their daily lives during this pandemic and any member encountering difficulties is encouraged to contact their advisor to discuss flexible options to ease financial pressure.

Solutions for businesses

Likewise, The Co-operators is encouraging its commercial clients to call their advisor for a comprehensive risk assessment to ensure their financial security is protected in the short and long term. Many small and medium-sized businesses are facing financial difficulty and are looking for ways to reduce their operating expenses. At the same time, the organisation is aware that risks to businesses have changed overnight, and continue to evolve.

In a message to members, Rob Wesseling (pictured), President and CEO of The Co-operators said: “In our personal and professional lives, all of us are dealing with uncertainty and stress. We’re worried for the health, safety and well-being of our loved ones, and are learning to cope in this necessary new normal of physical distancing. Amidst it all, at The Co-operators, we remain focused on our mission to provide financial security for Canadians and our communities.

“We have taken steps to keep our people and our communities healthy and safe, shifting our employees, advisors and client-facing staff to work remotely. We have mobilized our entire cooperative to continue meeting the fast-evolving needs of the people we serve, while protecting and preparing our clients for the future,” he added.  

Wesseling says that from day one, the organisation focused on protecting the safety and well-being of clients, employees, financial advisors, and local communities. As an essential service, The Co-operators had to remain open to meet the needs of clients. The cooperative is now effectively set up to provide solutions and advice by email, phone or Online Services, doing its part to keep communities healthy, safe and to help flatten the curve.

In his message, Wesseling spoke directly to members of the cooperative saying: “We know many Canadians are facing financial difficulty at this time and we’re committed to working together to find solutions that meet your needs. As the situation continues to evolve, we’re adapting our business practices to address clients’ individual needs, through flexible insurance and payment options. We know your needs are changing, and we will work with you to review your premiums and coverage levels to ensure they accurately reflect your situation. You can learn more about the details of our approach by visiting our FAQ page online.”

Reflecting on the organisation’s history and 75 years forward

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of The Co-operators and Wesseling says that the organisation’s founders built a cooperative that would address the changing and unmet needs of Canadians. For 75 years, the organisation has been committed to that purpose and it remain focused on it today.

Wesseling says: “With our business set up to move forward, we can now turn our attention to the future. As always, we will make decisions through the lens of our co-operative values, we will meet the changing needs of our members, clients and Canadians, and we will stay focused to ensure we can do this for the next 75 years and beyond.

“I’m proud of what’s happening today in our organization. I'm proud that we are finding ways to make a difference and fill gaps for our clients and communities under very difficult circumstances. I’m heartened by this because, at our core, that’s who we are,” he concludes.  

Other ICMIF members recently announced initiatives to return auto premiums back to policyholders following a reduction in motor accident claims.

In France, Maif announced that following a significant decrease in the number of motor vehicle accident reports during their eight-week containment period, the French mutual insurer would pass on the savings it had achieved to its motor insurance policyholders, estimated at approximately EUR 100 million.

In Canada, Desjardins General Insurance Group is offering discounts on auto insurance premiums for personal and business clients, calculated over a 3-month period and will reflect their client's annual distance travelled, as declared on their insurance contract.

Shelter Insurance (USA) has announced that it will return 30% of monthly premium to personal auto customers for April and May that have been affected since the outbreak.

Unipol has announced that it will repay one month’s premiums to its 10 million motor liability insurance policyholders. This is estimated to total EUR 300 million in premiums returned to customers to help them cope during the Covid-19 emergency period.

Meanwhile, ICMIF members DEVK and HUK-COBURG (Germany) regularly pay premiums back to members. Both organisations say they are monitoring the current situation closely and will assess its impact at year-end.

*Car insurance requirements in Canada depend on which province you live in and who you buy your insurance from. The Reduced Driving Refund is only available to clients who have purchased The Co-operators auto insurance product where available, which excludes British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.