In an effort to continue to support its members and clients, ICMIF member Desjardins General Insurance Group (Canada) is offering discounts on auto insurance premiums for personal and business clients who are staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly everyone is driving their vehicles less, and Desjardins General Insurance says it wants to acknowledge this fact.
This discount will be offered to clients whose commuting habits have significantly changed and who are only using their vehicles for essential trips to such places as the pharmacy or grocery store. This discount is open to anyone who has lost their job, for example, or who are now working from home, or otherwise self-isolating. It will be calculated over a 3-month period and will reflect the client's annual distance travelled, as declared on their insurance contract.
"As a result of the physical distancing and other government measures implemented due to COVID-19, Canadians are using their cars less. It only seems right that we, as a cooperative, give our clients a discount on their auto insurance premiums," said Guy Cormier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Desjardins Group.
Last week, another ICMIF member Maif (France) 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. Eligible MAIF policyholders have the choice between receiving the proposed sum in cash or donating it to three associations that are working particularly hard during the pandemic.
In addition, Desjardins General Insurance Group also announced that clients using a personal or commercial vehicle for delivery purposes will be temporarily covered under auto insurance policies. No additional insurance premium will be required, whether the driver is making deliveries as a volunteer or as an employee of a restaurant, pharmacy or grocery store. This relief measure automatically applies to all auto insurance policyholders.
Finally, since the current situation is forcing many people to work from home, Desjardins General Insurance has decided to temporarily raise the coverage limit under home insurance contracts for goods used to work from home (e.g., ergonomic chairs, computer equipment) to $10,000 . No action is required; this additional coverage automatically applies to all home insurance policyholders.
These relief measures are on top of those previously announced. These measures include adding liability coverage for a borrowed or rented vehicle at no extra charge for auto insurance policyholders returning early from the US in a rental car. Clients who are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19 may continue to have their insurance premiums waived. Specific measures are also available for business clients whose operations have been forced to stop temporarily or who have been severely affected by the COVID-19 situation.
Desjardins is one of three financial institutions in North America to be recognised by the United Nations as a responsible institution during the COVID-19 pandemic
On 6 April 2020, Desjardins Group, the parent company of Desjardins General Insurance Group, was recognised as a responsible financial institution during the COVID-19 pandemic by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), a sub-group of the United Nations. This group provides principles for banks, insurers and investors that aim to help the global financial sector that actively contribute to a more responsible and sustainable economy. UNEP-FI has shared the various relief measures announced by Desjardins for its personal and business members and clients since 16 March as an example to be followed.
In total, UNEP-FI recognised three financial institutions in North America, including two Canadian cooperatives. In September 2019, Desjardins affirmed its leadership position by becoming the first financial institution in Canada to sign the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) promoted by this organisation. To find out more about Desjardins Group's initiatives, see the 2019 social and cooperative responsibility report.
More than 151,000 members and clients are seeking financial relief from Desjardins
As of 3 April 2020, more than 151,000 members and clients have contacted Desjardins to take advantage of the relief measures announced by the financial institution. Of this number, 81,000 requests are related to payment deferrals on credit cards, Accord D financing or car loans. In terms of loans and lines of credit, a total of 70,000 requests have been received, including 51,000 related to mortgages. As already announced, members and clients who obtain a payment deferral and who have a Desjardins credit card will also benefit from a reduced annual interest rate of 10.9% during the deferral period. Desjardins will review each request individually and work to find the solution that works best for that member or client.
As a leading cooperative group, Desjardins Group has announced a number of other measures to support their members, clients and communities over the past month in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. More information on these initiatives are available on the Desjardins’ website: