This pandemic has significantly impacted all of our lives. At Erie Insurance, we continue to consider what we can do to make a difference for our Customers and communities. Most of you aren’t driving; you’re staying at home doing the right thing to protect yourselves and your neighbors.
That’s why we’re announcing that we will provide $200 million in dividends directly to personal and commercial auto insurance Customers in our 12 states and the District of Columbia. This immediate relief represents about 30 percent of your monthly auto insurance premium for a two-month period or 5 percent of your annual premium.
You can calculate your dividend using this simple equation: Annual premium as of April 1, 2020, multiplied by .30 / divided by 6. You can find your annual premium on your most recent auto insurance declarations page. For personal auto insurance Customers, you can access your declarations page through your Online Account at View Policy Details.
Pending regulatory approval, you should receive a check from us in mid-May 2020. There is no need for you to call ERIE or your Agent to request the payment. Checks will be mailed directly to Customers with auto insurance policies in force as of April 1, 2020.
This announcement is in addition to the $200 million in rate reductions we announced earlier this month, pending regulatory approval. Together these efforts provide a combined $400 million in immediate relief and longer-term rate reductions for ERIE auto insurance Customers.
ERIE is offering a rate reduction on auto insurance.
At ERIE, we’re focused on our Customers and on doing the right thing always. We are in unprecedented, challenging times that require that we deliver for our Customers in new and impactful ways.
Auto premiums are based on driving exposure. In this time of social distancing, exposures have dropped significantly, as reflected in fewer miles driven on average and reduced auto insurance claims. ERIE is reducing both personal auto and commercial auto rates, pending regulatory approval, as we expect these trends will continue. Our pricing philosophy is steady and stable.
The decision to also issue Policyholder dividends for personal and commercial auto builds on all of our efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and support our Customers during this time. We worked collaboratively with task force leaders on this solution. By issuing dividends and reducing auto insurance rates, we can provide our Customers both an immediate financial benefit and longer-term rate relief.
What is the average rate reduction? When will rate changes take effect?
ERIE is proposing to take an overall 5 percent reduction in personal and commercial auto premium — approximately $200 million. The rate reduction that applies will vary by insured and policy.
For personal auto, ERIE is filing for an overall 5 percent rate reduction, targeting reductions to Customers whose experience supports a lower rate. We expect most states will have effective dates in the third quarter, while a few may be in the fourth quarter. The team is working on state-specific strategies for implementing the rate reduction in all of our territories, subject to regulatory approval.
For commercial auto, ERIE is filing for an overall 5 percent rate decrease, effective Aug. 15, 2020, in all states pending regulatory approval. The decrease will affect fleet and non-fleet policies, as well as any scheduled vehicles on garage policies. Underwriting will also use IRPMs to provide additional rate relief to Customers in alignment with IRPM criteria.
What else are we doing now to provide relief for Customers who are experiencing hardship?
Our approach is focused on the Customer and includes several components to meet their needs both now and into the future. We recognize that while our Customers have unique needs during this time, many are facing significant challenges given the pandemic’s impact on the economy. Our support includes:
• ERIE Agents and our Customer Care team helping Customers find solutions for today’s financial hardships. Those solutions include delaying payments, adjustments to installments due, changing pay plays and waiving penalties and fees.
• Adjusting coverages to reflect changing needs for protection. For example, reducing annual miles driven or changing vehicle usage from “drive to work” to “pleasure” to reduce premiums. For restaurant owners now offering delivery service, adding hired and non-owned coverage can ensure the right protection for employees, customers and the business.
• Making life insurance attainable without in-person interaction through an optional paramed waiver offer for Customers up to age 55 and policy face amounts up to $500,000.
• Pending regulatory approval, Erie Insurance is adding gift card and gift certificate reimbursement coverage to the company’s ErieSecure Home® policies. The additional feature, included at no additional cost, would reimburse customers for remaining balances on gift cards that can no longer be used at independently owned and operated local businesses due to business closures.
• Delivering immediate financial support to our auto insurance Customers in the form of a dividend payout, representing a total of $200 million.
• Providing longer-term rate relief through a 5 percent annual rate reduction on personal and commercial auto insurance rates, also representing a total of $200 million.
• Through the dividends and rate reductions, ERIE is providing $400 million in a combination of immediate relief and sustained support.
ERIE’s broader package of relief also includes additional financial support for the communities we serve. We are increasing the amount of funding available to our field offices and Agents to support your charitable giving. All in, this additional support will boost the charitable work of our field Employees and Agents by nearly $2.5 million. (In Erie, PA: ERIE was among the leading organizations to partner with the Erie Community Foundation to establish the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. Within two weeks, the Fund raised and awarded nearly $700,000 to provide food to those in need, administer care to children, serve the elderly and disabled and help those suffering from hardship and job loss due to COVID-19.)