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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) update: We’re here to help

Wawanesa’s COVID-19 Policyholder Relief Measures approach $40M

April 14, 2020

As a Canadian Mutual born out of the adversity of the late 1800s, we recognize that it is in times like these that Canadians need us the most. Our history, like that of our country, has been one of working together in good times and bad.

Being a mutual means your premium dollars are pooled with other policyholders in Canada to pay for the claims made by you and them, when you need the financial protection in your insurance policy. Last year we paid out in claims and expenses $1.06 for every dollar of premium you paid us; that means we paid out more than we received. We are a Mutual. We do not have shareholders; we are here to serve our policyholders. Right now, the number of automobiles on the road are lower as you stay at home, participate in social distancing and avoid COVID-19. Thank you for doing your part!

Recognizing that you have done your part, we are doing ours. Our policyholders need to find ways to reduce their household costs, so we have acted quickly with your insurance brokers, to put in place lots of options to save our policyholders around $40 million during the crisis. In addition, in most provinces with private automobile insurance we have told our Provincial regulators that we will not charge our policyholders the rate increases they previously approved. This will save our policyholders $4.5 million per month through the crisis. We want to make sure you know all the options we have made available. Please call your insurance broker and let them help you. It is only four weeks into the crisis and as we think of more options, we will be sure to communicate with your broker and on our website. Here are some of the things available to our policyholders to save you money today.

Changing vehicle use

The numbers of cars on the road have decreased. We do not want policyholders paying for protection you don’t need during the crisis.

  • If your personal vehicle is no longer being used, we encourage you to contact your insurance broker to discuss how you can pay less for the insurance on those cars. Reducing coverage in this way can generate savings of up to 75% or $80 each month for every vehicle.
  • For vehicles that are no longer used for commuting to work or for business but are still being used for groceries or medical appointments, we encourage you to call your broker and change your coverage to reflect your reduced vehicle usage. This will save you money every month. If you are working from home, self-quarantining or following social distancing guidelines, just pay for what you need.
  • If your vehicle insurance is currently with us and your livelihood or business has been directly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, you can change the use of your vehicles to allow you to deliver food and other products. We encourage our policyholders, brokers and employees to give back to the community and we hope this helps. We don’t want you worrying about whether your car insurance will cover you if, during the crisis, you’re looking to earn other forms of income by using your personal car for delivering food and other products.
  • We also have options for our small business policyholders and customers with commercial vehicles whose businesses may have slowed down. In these times of crisis, commercial policyholders can remove certain driving coverages and pay less for their business insurance.
  • A number of our Commercial policyholders are responding to new or developing business opportunities in the COVID-19 environment. Please call your broker and allow us to change your insurance policy to reflect this change.

Policyholders who need premium relief

If you have lost your job or are in financial distress during this crisis and your bank account lacks the funds to pay your monthly insurance premium, we will be waiving non-sufficient funds fees (NSF) until July 16, 2020 – a savings of $40 for each NSF. 

At the same time, our policyholders can be assured that we value you. We will not be cancelling policies for non-payment of insurance premiums for the foreseeable future.

If you are scheduled to pay your premium in full at renewal, and need more flexible payment terms, or you’re having financial difficulty and are unable to pay your insurance premium, please call your insurance broker. There are lots of ways we can help you, including the deferral of premiums, to retain your insurance protection with us during the crisis.

Coverage allowances

Where necessary, with claims already underway and if you have been unable to have your car or home repaired due to vendor closures, or parts and materials unavailability, we are working on a case by case basis with you to extend car rental and additional living expense coverage until your property is fully repaired and usable. Our claims team has extended nearly $5 million in additional coverage on open claims in the first four weeks of the crisis.

If you’re working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, your personal insurance policy can provide up to $5,000 in coverage for business property on your premises. If you are working from home and have your employer’s property with you, don’t worry, it may be insured up to $5,000 if something happens to it in your home and it is not insured elsewhere.

Reduction in business revenues

If you have your business insurance with us, and your revenues are down because of the COVID-19 crisis, please call your broker and they can help you update your policy. We want to re-calculate your premiums to reflect the change, so that you pay less for your insurance during the crisis.

Time to renew or replace your property or business insurance with us?

On March 16, 2020 Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the need for social distancing and self-isolation. With that announcement coverage became available under the Declaration of Emergency – Extension of Termination or Expiry Date wordings for property insurance policies. This ensures that if you are an eligible policyholder and cannot renew your property insurance during the Emergency, we may extend your policy terms upon request for up to 120 days. Don’t forget, you will owe us the premium for those days for which you require an extension.

Commercial businesses that have closed temporarily

If your business operations have been temporarily halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wawanesa has agreed not to consider your commercial buildings as vacant or unoccupied for coverage purposes during the emergency. Also, if you can’t get to your Seasonal or Secondary homes and you’re restricting your movements due to the pandemic, we are waiving the attendance requirements until the emergency is over.

Supporting communities

Supporting the communities where our policyholders, brokers, and employees live and work is one of our core values. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we've donated $100,000 to food banks in Canada and the United States.

This is a challenging and uncertain time for Canadians. As we all work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, Wawanesa is taking important and meaningful steps to help policyholders who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

We believe our actions in support of the financial needs of you, our policyholders, fulfils our mission and values and helps promote the important role played by the insurance in keeping the economy working and helping our policyholders navigate these difficult financial times. We remain open for business to assist customers and continue to pay claims.



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