July 7, 2021
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a data call of 124 auto insurance companies for recent rebates given to policyholders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kreidler is requesting claims data for private passenger auto claims from 2016-2020 and how the insurers applied any COVID-19-related refunds in 2020. Responses are due July 30.
“I want to see what premiums consumers paid during the pandemic and the companies’ claims costs,” said Kreidler. “We know that people drove less and had fewer accidents. If this resulted in fewer claims, then insurers need to look at the rates they charged. If they’re excessive, they should make it up to their policyholders.”
He urged insurers to issue rebates in April 2020 due to decreased driving during the pandemic.
Insurers responded to a similar data call in California earlier this year. The results showed that insurers overcharged drivers despite fewer accidents and claims during the pandemic. In response, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered additional premium rebates for policyholders.
“Nationally, property and casualty insurers saw their policyholder surplus increase to a record high of $955 billion at the end of last year,” said Kreidler. “If what I believe is true and insurers’ claims also dropped considerably, I’d like to see consumers reap some of the benefit of their insurance company’s good year.”
Washington auto insurers saw their loss ratios drop 10% between 2019–2020. This means they made an extra 10 cents on every dollar they collected in premium during the first year of the pandemic. They paid a less in claims and banked the rest.