There’s a lot of information coming at you these days—everything from the right way to wash your hands to how far to socially distance yourself from another breathing human. And in the middle of all the information overload is your money. Let’s break down what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your money in a crisis:

What Should I Do if My Income Is Stable?

  • DO keep right on working the Baby Steps like you have been.
  • DO pay your bills on time. This isn’t a free pass to skip out.
  • DO use your stimulus money to help you crush your goals—use it to speed up the Baby Step you’re on.
  • DO NOT pause your debt snowball!
  • DO NOT cash out your 401(k). You won’t even see the losses unless you take your money out of the market—so don’t!
  • DO NOT defer (aka delay) your student loan payments—keep attacking these with a vengeance.
  • DO NOT stop paying your mortgage.

What Should I Do if I Was Laid Off/Furloughed or if My Income Is NOT Stable? 

  • DO pause your debt snowball! You need all that extra money on hand right now.
  • DO make sure your Four Walls (food, utilities, shelter and transportation—in that order) are covered, then pile up cash as high as you can.
  • DO make the minimum payments on your debt (if you can swing it).
  • DO cut out all unnecessary spending from your budget (think need versus want).
  • DO look for a part-time job wherever you can find one!
  • DO use any stimulus money to cover your Four Walls and then toss anything leftover into your emergency fund.
  • DO NOT take out a payday loan! Run as far from these snakes as you can.
  • DO NOT get a HELOC (home equity line of credit)—it will only dig a deeper hole.
  • DO NOT stop paying your mortgage. Shelter is one of the Four Walls, so make sure it stays at the top of the list.
  • DO NOT cash out your 401(k) unless you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy.

Should I File for Unemployment?

  • DO check in with your state government to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits.
  • DO keep looking for work (even if you’re getting unemployment).
  • DO NOT file for unemployment if you can bring in at least 50% of your income by working another job (part time or full time).

What if I Run a Business or Church?

  • DO take advantage of the payroll tax deferment offered through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • DO NOT take out a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan! It’s too difficult to get them forgiven, so don’t mess with it.

We know there’s a lot coming at you fast these days, but step back and take a breath. You don’t want to make bad decisions with your money just because of this crisis. So calm down, think things through, and be wise as you take each careful step. You’ve got this!

And if you need a good push to get you started, right now you can get a free 14-day trial of Financial Peace! You’ll get access to all nine Financial Peace University video lessons and a ton of extras like The BabySteps app and EveryDollar Plus. If you’ve always wanted to take FPU but didn’t have the time—well, there’s no time like right now.

Do you run a business or church and are looking for useful (and free) resources to help you navigate this crisis? Check out our Entreleadership business resources center.

About 80 million people are expected to receive their stimulus checks Wednesday from the coronavirus emergency relief bill and the IRS has an online tool to help track the status of your money.

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS launched the “Get My Payment” website Wednesday.

The first payments from the relief package are set to go to people who filed their tax returns the last two years and who have allowed the IRS to make direct deposits.

For those who did not provide their banking information on their return for direct deposit, the free “Get My Payment” website will help you receive your money.

On the website, you’ll submit your social security number, date of birth and mailing address to get started. It will also give people a chance to submit their bank account information if they’d like the money to be deposited directly.

People who want to add their bank account information to speed receipt of their payment will also need to provide the following additional information:

  • Their Adjusted Gross Income from their most recent tax return submitted, either 2019 or 2018
  • The refund or amount owed from their latest filed tax return
  • Bank account type, account and routing numbers

Americans who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 can use “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here” to submit basic personal information to quickly and securely receive their Economic Impact Payments.

According to the release, the “Get My Payment” web application cannot update bank account information after an Economic Impact Payment has been scheduled for delivery.

To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change bank account information already on file with the IRS.

The “Get My Payment” web application will also allow taxpayers to track the status of their payment.

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

The IRS and the U.S. Department of Treasury urge taxpayers to be on the lookout for scammers and email phishing attempts about the COVID-19 and Economic Impact Payments.

Many people have worked from home for years, but it is not for everyone. Unfortunately, with the COVID-19 pandemic we simply do not have a choice. The good news is that we can learn from those that are productive and successful when working remotely. Here are a few hints:

  • Find and set up a proper and quiet workplace where you can concentrate and avoid distractions.
  • Keep your regular routine for waking up and going to the office.
  • Set regular office hours as if you are at the office.
  • Plan your workday/schedule as if you are in the office.
  • Take breaks and make sure to get some exercise.
  • Communication is key and use all tools available including phone, email, text and online meetings.
  • Equipment should be updated and current and if your internet goes down, have a hotspot backup.
  • Make sure you have appropriate internet speed, especially with others working or schooling at home.
  • If you’re attending virtual meetings, make sure that you test your connections. If you’re hosting those meetings, make sure that you are on early and you have practiced content and technology usage.
  • Make sure that you have boundaries and your family understands that you are there to do a job.
  • Find ways to have some fun both at home and virtually with your coworkers. Remember, we’re all in the same boat.

As a result of the pandemic, insurer finds ways to help customers, employees, agents and communities through its comprehensive “Apron Relief Program”

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, OH, April 8, 2020 (NYSE: PGR) — Over the last few weeks, the entire country has faced hardship due to COVID-19. Progressive Insurance remains committed to assisting customers and today announced it is providing approximately $1 billion to them as a result of fewer claims that come with less frequent driving.

“We understand how difficult and uncertain people’s lives are right now. While auto insurance might not be the most pressing topic on everyone’s mind, we know that finances could be. For our customers who have trusted us to be there in their times of need, we’re fulfilling that promise. We want them to know how much we care,” said Progressive President and CEO Tricia Griffith. “Always guided by our core values, doing the right thing is vitally important to us. We know that by sticking together and taking care of one another during these difficult times, we’ll come through this stronger. We want our current customers to remain our future customers.”

Subject to approval by state regulators, Progressive personal auto customers who have a policy in force as of April 30th will be credited 20% of their April premiums in May and personal auto customers with a policy in force as of May 31st will be credited 20% of their May premiums in June.  We estimate that the sum of these two credits will total approximately $1 billion.  Customers will not need to take any actions to receive the benefits. The credits will be applied automatically to the customers’ policy and those customers who have paid in full will receive a refund of the credited amounts.

In addition to providing these funds, Progressive has worked to assist customers, employees, agents and communities in meaningful ways since the COVID-19 outbreak. Through its “Apron Relief Program,” a nod to the company’s iconic brand apron representing progress and protection, the company’s comprehensive efforts have included helping in these four areas:

For customers: 
  • Suspending cancellations and non-renewals on personal and commercial lines policies for non-payment through May 15th
  • Providing commercial lines customers with a business owner or general liability policy underwritten by Progressive a 20% credit on April and May monthly premiums
  • Providing a full-service claims experience for first responders and health care workers who experience a car accident by providing enhanced roadside service (including transportation to work or home from the accident if needed), expedited tow service and vehicle repairs, pick up and delivery of the repaired vehicle, all while deferring deductibles and providing a rental vehicle if needed
  • Expanding coverage for personal auto customers temporarily delivering food or medicine and allowing commercial customers additional coverage options for delivery
  • Extending payment leniency, waiving late fees and pausing collections
  • Deferring deductibles to help customers who cannot pay out of pocket to get their car repaired
  • Providing delivered meals for its for-hire trucking customers, first responders and health care providers
For employees:
  • Providing work from home capabilities for the vast majority of employees
  • Providing financial relief including advances on its annual bonus program, vacation days and paid time off for those who are unable to work
  • Easing the burden of health care costs by covering co-pays for telemedicine visits and covering costs of COVID-19 medical treatments
For communities:
  • Helping in the towns where its employees, agents and customers live by funding a donation of $8 million by the Progressive Foundation to charities focused on hunger, health and homelessness, including Feeding America, the American Red Cross and the National Alliance to End Homelessness
For agents:
  • Partnering with agent associations to provide direct relief through grants to help agents address the new challenges presented by the virus
  • Enhancing programs for Platinum and Priority agents to provide more opportunities to earn in this changing market
  • Offering producers in its partner programs unlimited access to continuing education courses and increasing opportunities for all producers to earn through its Agent Rewards program
  • Continuing to support agents with 24×7 servicing for their customers and virtual visits from its sales team

“We’re grateful to be in a position to give back,” said Griffith. “We will continue to do what we can to help based on the current data available to us and will continue to monitor how this unprecedented situation plays out.”

 

View source version here

Earlier today we shared very positive news about Main Street America’s special relief program to return $16.5 million in premium to our personal auto insureds.

On the heels of this news, I am very excited to let you know we received approval this afternoon from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation for a special premium relief effort for our commercial lines policyholders.

The program involves providing a 20 percent premium credit for all of our Business Owner’s and Contractors insureds for the months of April and May for policies in force as of March 31, 2020 in all of our states. Main Street America recognizes that our commercial lines policyholders, which mainly consist of small business owners, have had unprecedented impacts by the events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. This credit will be reflected in our policyholders’ next bill regardless of the type of payment plan they are on. If the policy is already paid in full, we will issue a check to the insured.

It is our hope that this special measure will bolster the other meaningful actions we have taken to support our commercial lines and personal lines customers, which include premium payment deferral, extending rental car return days, suspending various audit and underwriting requirements as well as physical and commercial inspection requirements. As you may know, Main Street America has also extended private passenger automobile coverage to food delivery drivers hired by restaurants as well as offering temporary coverage for restaurant insureds performing first-party food delivery service.

We will be sharing more details about our commercial lines premium relief program next week. In the meantime, I encourage you to contact your Main Street America underwriter or field representative for the very latest details on what we are doing to assist you and your customers during this extraordinary time.

Sincerely,

Chris Listau
President and CEO

 

To view from the original PDF, go here 

Recognizing that many customers are driving their vehicles less as a result of shelter-in-place actions, Mercury plans to giveback 15% of monthly premiums for April and May 2020. This applies to all Mercury Private Passenger Automobile policy holders.

Customers will receive their Givebacks in the same manner their premiums were paid. As soon as we receive guidance and approval from the Department of Insurance, we expect to begin processing the payments. The Giveback Program will not impact agent commissions. 

Mercury recognizes we are in an unprecedented time and would like to reiterate our commitment and support to you and our shared customers. We appreciate the work you do and want to thank you for your continued partnership. If you have questions about these changes, please contact your Mercury Marketing Representative.

 

To view from the original PDF, go here

View source version here

Personal auto insurance customers will receive a 15% credit on April and May auto premiums, expanding the company’s COVID-19 relief efforts

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) today announced it is giving U.S. personal auto insurance customers a 15% credit on their April and May premiums through its new Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program. The company will automatically credit customers’ accounts, providing them with prompt and much needed relief during this time. Travelers will continue to assess the program as more information comes to light about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the driving environment and auto claims.

“Our customers are doing their part to stay at home and help stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Alan Schnitzer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Travelers. “Our new program recognizes their contribution to the effort we all need to make to protect our health and safety and the resulting decrease in miles driven and auto claims. We are committed to standing with our customers, agents and brokers, and this is one more step we’re taking to help ease some of the financial burden many are experiencing.”

The company is working with regulators to obtain all the necessary approvals.

Separately, Travelers continues to provide auto coverage for customers across the country whose job responsibilities now include using their personal vehicles to make food, grocery, pharmacy and medical supply deliveries.

The Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program adds to the company’s COVID-19 response initiatives. Among other things, Travelers is offering billing relief to customers, is accelerating more than $100 million in commission payments to eligible agents and brokers and has pledged $5 million to assist families and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across North America, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The company also continues to work with individuals experiencing financial hardships to offer solutions based on their unique circumstances.

 

To learn more about the company’s response to COVID-19, please visit its dedicated webpage on Travelers.com.

To view from the original PDF, go here

 

Source: The Travelers Companies, Inc.

Business owners are facing a lot of stress and uncertainty right now. That’s why we want to provide upfront, transparent information to help you navigate these unforeseen days. If you need further assistance, we’re here to help. Simply log into My Account at https://account.thehartford.com/customer/#/login?appid=OBSC or call us at 866-467-8730.

Premium Billing

We understand the financial difficulty COVID-19 has caused for many. For business insurance customers, we will not be assessing late fees for premiums and will be suspending cancellations for non-payment until May 1, 2020. We will continue to evaluate these policies based on the circumstances that develop in the upcoming weeks. We will also continue to comply with any directives issued by state departments of insurance on billing issues.

Premium Audit

We understand administrative tasks may not be a top priority right now. If you’re struggling to submit payroll reports or finish your final premium audits, we are here to help. We’re committed to being flexible with respect to the completion of final audits, non-compliance notices and final premium audit payments, our team will do their best to work with you to understand all your available options.

Lastly, we understand many of you will have changes to your operations and exposures due to COVID-19. If this is true in your case, please contact us so that we can work with you to accommodate these temporary changes in your business operations.

There are more helpful resources at https://www.thehartford.com/coronavirus/businesses

At Safeco, the well-being of our customers, independent agents, and employees is always our top priority. We’re actively monitoring the situation and taking steps to keep employees and customers healthy and to minimize disruptions to our customers.

Payment Flexibility Options

We have empowered our employees to work with each individual customer to provide the personalized support you need. For customers who are negatively impacted by corona virus, we are extending payment dates and waiving fees. Please contact us at 1-800-332-3226 if we can be of assistance.

We hope you and your family are healthy and holding up well through the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19). While COVID-19 is causing disruption in our communities, we’re committed to making sure that you have the protection and support you need.

Impact On Coverage And Payments

During this unprecedented time, we know you may be experiencing stress and financial hardship. With that in mind, here are some options that might make things a little easier:

Coverage Assistance

We don’t want you to worry about losing your insurance if you can’t pay right now. Starting April 1, 2020, we’ll waive late fees and hold off on canceling or non-renewing any active policies due to non-payment through May 15, 2020.

Some states have already issued leniency guidelines, so we will adjust this timeline to either meet or exceed any state-specific requirements.

Billing Leniency

If you’ve already requested billing leniency, please be patient with us. Our systems haven’t caught up quite yet, so you’ll continue to receive bills and your Payment Schedule may not reflect your request.

In the meantime, we strongly encourage you to make a payment if you’re able to. Automatic payments will continue to go through unless you tell us to stop them.

After May 15th, any remaining balance on your policy will become due. If you need more support, please don’t hesitate to call us—we’re happy to work with you to manage payments moving forward.

Getting In Touch

Your safety is always our top priority, and we’re here to help:

  • You can easily manage your policy online or on the Progressive app. And, our phone lines are always open at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE—just know that call wait times may be longer than usual.
  • You can also report or check on the status of a claim online, through the Progressive app, or by calling 1-800-PROGRESSIVE. To protect your health and safety, as well as ours, we’ll be limiting in-person claims interactions as much as possible.

This is a situation that none of us have been through before. New questions are sure to continue to arise, and we will do our best to help. We’ll continue to monitor and respond to this situation as it evolves, and we will be here for you when you need us.

We wish you and your loved ones well, and we thank you for being a Progressive customer.