Progressive Insurance has donated $2 million to establish the Trusted Choice COVID-19 Relief Fund in response to the economic and operational challenges the coronavirus crisis has presented to independent agencies.
The grant will be dispersed directly to independent agencies via an application processes via the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”). Independent agencies can apply for assistance online.
“The Big ‘I’ is so grateful for Progressive’s generosity in leading the charge to support the independent agency community during these unprecedented times,” said Bob Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO, who created a video message to address the donation and new fund. “Big ‘I’ agents and agencies are facing unforeseen obstacles even as they seek to help their clients and communities in their time of need.”
Rusbuldt said that with the impending loss of premium from retail and service businesses, “independent agencies are now beginning to experience what many of their business clients are experiencing.”
He said some agencies are also facing equipment shortages, staffing challenges and other challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tricia Griffith, Progressive president and CEO, said that partnering with the Big ‘I’ gives the insurer the ability to provide grant assistance “quickly and broadly to agents” across the country who are affected by this pandemic. “By sticking together, we’ll come through this stronger,” she said.
Rusbuldt invited other insurance carriers and industry partners to also support this new 501(c)(3) charitable fund.
Progressive said it is also sending checks worth more than $2 million to its approved auto repair and auto body shops across the country. The insurer said it recognizes that many of these shops face uncertainty due to fewer claims that come from less frequent driving. The shops can use the money for any purpose.
The donations are part of Progressive’s broader relief program that will also return approximately $1 billion in premiums to customers.
There have been a few other reported efforts to aid insurance agents during this crisis.
In another move to help agencies, earlier this month The Travelers Companies announced that it will accelerate commission payments to eligible agents and brokers to help them ease liquidity concerns due to the COVID-19 crisis. In total, Travelers said it is accelerating more than $100 million, which it called “a significant boost of cash flow to its distribution partners when they need it most.”
Also, Brightway Insurance has altered its franchise contract to make it easier to attain franchise ownership during the current coronavirus pandemic. The company is offering a stay-at-home option for franchisees to launch their businesses while deferring costs incurred until they are able to open their insurance store.
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