While some insurers are reimbursing motor premiums to policyholders due to the coronavirus outbreak and people driving considerably less due to lockdown rules imposed on them, this activity is business as usual for some ICMIF members such as DEVK and HUK-COBURG (Germany) that regularly pay premiums back to members. Both organisations say they are monitoring the current situation closely and will assess its impact at year-end.
For example, at the beginning of this year customers of DEVK (Germany) who had not made any claims in 2019 received reimbursements from the mutual insurer. Around 363,000 DEVK policyholders benefited from reimbursement in comprehensive motor insurance; over 144,000 were reimbursed for 25% of their partial motor insurance premiums; and almost 68,000 existing customers received money back from their motor vehicle accident insurance.
If, as expected, claims levels are lower in 2020 because of the reduced driving activity resulting from the pandemic, then this will be factored into the usual reimbursements for claims-free drivers. DEVK CEO Gottfried Rüßmann says: "Of course, we cannot currently conclusively assess the year 2020. However, due to the low-loss history of the past few weeks, we expect less (claims experience) in the end and we want our members and customers to be able to share in this again.”
Another ICMIF member in Germany, HUK-COBURG, is also experiencing significantly fewer motor claims and is adopting a similar approach. "Even if the extent of the reductions in claims expenditure by coronavirus can only be finally assessed at the end of the 2020 financial year, HUK-COBURG will allow its members and customers to participate in this relieving effect according to its philosophy", said Klaus-Jürgen Heitmann, CEO of HUK-COBURG, adding "In this unique situation, members and customers should be able to rely on their insurer”.
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.