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Insurance industry seeing new changes amid pandemic

Insurance industry seeing new changes amid pandemic
Posted at 7:21 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 20:21:31-04

It's no secret that this is a challenging time for many, and the insurance industry is reacting to the new world we're in as a result of COVID-19.

They're implementing everything from rebates and refunds to new policies.

As many aspects of life are different now, motorists are traveling less and getting in fewer accidents. Recent events have also caused an increased interest in life insurance.

“More customers are considering life insurance (as) an opportunity for us to help them recover from the unexpected around COVID,” says Kristyn Cook, senior vice president of agency marketing at State Farm Insurance.

Interest in life insurance is swelling across the nation and being noticed industry wide. The Insurance Information Institute helps people understand insurance and what it does.

Insurance Information Institute director Janet Ruiz said COVID-19 got people thinking.

“I think they’re concerned and thinking about mortality and illness in the world,” Ruiz said. “It’s always important to have life insurance but sometimes people are so busy, they’re not paying attention to these types of needs they have whereas right now they’re looking at their financial picture and thinking, ‘Hey, I should have life insurance for my family and make sure they’re taken care of if something happens to me.’”

And she says they have more time to prepare for catastrophe.

For State Farm, that's helping people navigate what could happen in your region.

"There are very real significant risks relative to wildfires in California or hurricanes in Florida, or storms in general,” Cook said. “One of the things we pride ourselves on not just helping people recover when something happens but how to help them think about risk mitigation on the front end.”

Cook says State Farm's 19,000 agents across the country are talking to clients about how to protect your home. Things like taking inventory, reviewing what kind of coverage you have and what you can do to structurally to protect your home. These are things, that before COVID-19, people would push off for a later date.

“People are home and they have more time sometimes to think about the what if scenarios and that intersects with our reach out by our agents to say how can we help you," Cook said.

Another big change is automotive coverage. Auto insurance customers policy should check their policies and reach out to their agents. Companies are sending refunds or rebates to customers due to changing driving habits.

“We call it good neighbor relief program,” Cook said. “Payment flexibility, options relative to providing relief, we announced a dividend, a return of value to customers to the tune of $2 billion recognizing they are doing less driving and there are fewer accidents.”

Some are beefing up homeowner and renter policies, again, thinking about things as they're home and reviewing their properties.

“If there’s a water leak, they’ll detect it quickly and get it fixed and they’re not having as much theft because they’re around the house and so you don’t have the thieves coming in while you’re at work,” Ruiz said.

She also said most agencies are allowing you to put off payments for a month or two if you need a financial break. State Farm realizes that looks different for every customer and their unique situation.