California tells insurance companies to give refunds amid COVID-19

Posted at 6:08 PM, Apr 13, 2020

(KGTV) — California's insurance commissioner ordered insurance companies to return premiums to consumers and businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said refunds should include premiums paid for at least the months of March and April and including May if "shelter in place" restrictions are still in effect.

“With Californians driving fewer miles and many businesses closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, consumers need relief from premiums that no longer reflect their present-day risk of accident or loss,” said Commissioner Lara. “Today's mandatory action will put money back in people’s pockets when they need it most.”

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The order affects six different types of insurance: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers' compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice, and any other insurance line "where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

The commissioner's bulletin will require insurance companies to either provide a premium credit, reduction, refund of premium, or appropriate adjustments as soon as possible, but no later than August 2020.

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According to a UC Davis report, since Californians have been on the roadways less during the coronavirus pandemic, fewer accidents, injuries, and fatalities on highways and roads have been reported.

The state says that several auto insurance companies have already announced voluntary premium refunds to drivers.

The latest Monday included AAA, which announced policyholders will receive premium refunds totaling about $125 million. AAA policyholders with auto insurance in effect from March 16, 2020 to May 15, 2020 will receive a 20 percent policy refund check.