COVID-19 Relief Ends: Car Insurance Rates Back On The Rise

The Zebra | January 12, 2022

Telematics News
The Zebra, the nation's leading insurance comparison site, released its 2022 State of Auto Insurance Report revealing the national average annual cost for car insurance to be $1,529, up 3% over last year's reduced rates from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Zebra's sixth annual State of Auto Insurance Report provides an under-the-hood look at more than 83 million auto insurance rates across all 34,500 U.S. ZIP codes. It examines over a decade's worth of data to reveal trends in pricing across the nation.

"In 2021, drivers began taking their cars out of 'park' and returned to the roads, More drivers can lead to more potential accidents to occur. As soon as the number of claims filed increases, so will insurance rates. However, drivers aren't powerless – to lower rates, practice safe driving behaviors and take every precaution to protect your vehicles from damages caused by extreme weather."

- Nicole Beck, Head of Communications at The Zebra.

The COVID-19 factor
The COVID-19 pandemic created major changes in how Americans traveled. The Federal Highway Administration reported a 14% decrease in the number of miles traveled by U.S. drivers during the first year of the pandemic. The number of annual miles driven is only one factor considered in car insurance pricing, which is why drivers only saw a 4% drop in rates during 2020, a year of less driving. As Americans began driving again – whether it was back to work, grocery stores or social gatherings – prices are on the rise as the number of claims filed have returned to its pre-pandemic baseline.

More claims filed from deadly roads, extreme weather damages
Drivers are back: the Federal Highway Administration estimates an 11% increase in miles driven through October 2021. But, roads have become deadlier, after risky driving behaviors like distracted and aggressive driving, speeding and impaired driving have increased. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 20,160 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first half of 2021, up 18.4% over 2020.

Weather is also an essential factor to consider as a factor in the national price increase, as insurance companies seek to make up for losses from claims filed. Even though fewer hurricanes occurred in 2021, it was still considered an above-average hurricane season. Winter storms this year caused a record $15 billion in insured losses, up from $1 billion in 2020, almost entirely due to two storms that occurred in February.

Prices vary down to the zip code
Each state has its specific requirements and regulations for auto insurance. Car insurance rates increased in 38 states (including the District of Columbia) and fell in 13 states in the past year. Louisiana saw the largest increase of 42%, putting the state at the top spot for most expensive insurance. Maryland had the most significant decrease at around 9%.

About The Zebra
The Zebra is the nation's leading, independent insurance comparison site. With its dynamic, real-time quote comparison tool, consumers can identify insurance companies with the coverage, service level, and pricing to suit their unique needs. The Zebra compares more than 100 auto and home insurance companies and provides agent support and educational resources to ensure consumers are equipped to make the most informed decisions about their insurance. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, The Zebra has sought to bring transparency and simplicity to insurance shopping since 2012 — it's "insurance in black and white."


The annual EY Insurance Outlooks represent a perspective on key issues shaping the industry in the near term (three years). They complement the NextWave series, which takes a longer-term perspective (five years and beyond) and examines specific market scenarios that will shape the future of the industry.

Other News

PatientBond Helps Falck USA Significantly Boost Patient Payments and Insurance Reimbursements

Patientbond | March 21, 2022

PatientBond, the leading consumer science-driven patient engagement SaaS provider, announces it is working with Falck USA, to recover missed patient payments and insurance reimbursement. Falck USA is one of the largest private providers of 24-hour ambulance transport and 911 response services in the United States, offering both basic and advanced life support. One challenge Falck USA faces is that many ambulance trips are not reimbursed by health insurance, because crisis situations make it difficult to obtain the information necessary to file an insurance claim or collect from a patient. PatientBond designed and executed an SMS/text message based payment reminder process for Falck USA to accelerate patient payments while reducing outstanding balances and collection costs. Patients receive a set of reminder messages over the course of 31 days or until full payment is received. In the first ten months of automating digital patient engagement through PatientBond, Falck USA realized several million dollars in patient payments and insurance reimbursements that might have otherwise gone unpaid. The effort has yielded a 75-to-1 Return on Investment for Falck USA. Implementing mobile engagement in partnership with PatientBond last year was one of the best decisions I made, The benefits reaped from this have included insurance discoveries, accelerated patient payments, and bad debt reduction. We are looking forward to building off these results and continuing this journey with PatientBond into 2022." Kevin Don, Executive Director, Global Business Services for Falck USA. PatientBond conducts an extensive amount of market research on healthcare consumer motivations and communication preferences. We design our communications to enhance the likelihood of desired behavior activation, which in this case is paying one's bill through a simple patient payment platform." Justin Dearborn, CEO of PatientBond. About PatientBond PatientBond was founded by leaders in digital health, consumer engagement and consumer product executives from P&G who realized that the rise of consumerism in healthcare means that providers and other healthcare stakeholders must take a "digital first" approach to building loyal patient relationships. PatientBond's mission is to leverage Healthcare Consumer Insights and Innovative Technology Solutions to help its clients build a tighter bond with their patients and members to improve health outcomes, increase revenue and reduce costs. PatientBond is growing rapidly, as recognized by Inc 5000 and Financial Times. PatientBond is a portfolio company of First Trust Capital Partners. About Falck USA Falck USA is a wholly owned subsidiary, that provides 24-hour ambulance transport and 9-1-1 response services. It provides basic life support and Advanced life support services in the United States. Falck currently provides ambulance services to 4 states in the US and operates approximately 400 US ambulances and employs more than 2000 American emergency response professionals.

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Keystone Expands in Michigan, Signing on Iott Insurance Agency

Keystone | February 08, 2022

Keystone, the fourth largest participant-owned insurance agency network in the nation, continued its expansion in the Great Lakes Region by signing on new Michigan agency, Iott Insurance Agency of Blissfield, Lambertville, and Petersburg. “In keeping with our tradition of excellence, we have upheld and stayed true to our core values by bringing Iott Insurance Agency into our Michigan family, Brian Iott, Kurt Diver, and Tim Miller are exemplary leaders in the communities they serve and are a natural fit for Keystone. Located in lower southeast Michigan, this relationship expands our geographic presence and provides the Iott team and their clients access to tools and resources that complement the world-class service they have delivered since day one. We look forward to a long, prosperous relationship!” -Aaron Vorce, Michigan state vice president. “We are so excited about our new relationship with Keystone and their member agencies, The tools and resources Keystone provides its agency force is second to none in the industry. We look forward to all the opportunities this new relationship will bring to our agency.” -Principal Tim Miller. About Iott Insurance Agency– Iott Insurance Agency dates to 1950 when Brian Iott’s father Francis became licensed and eventually opened a small agency in Blissfield. In 1970, Francis partnered with Virgil Diver to expand locations and services. Today, the agency has a staff of 25 experienced professionals dedicated to customer service. About Keystone Insurers Group (Keystone): Keystone started in 1983 when four independent insurance agencies teamed up to pool their experience and expertise. This small group believed that agencies could be stronger and more successful if they linked arms – a passion and spirit that continues. Growing to almost 300 independent agencies in 17 states, Keystone provides its agents with a community of like-minded agencies, industry expertise and access to specialized products for their clients. Keystone is ranked number four on Insurance Journal's 2020 list of Top 20 Property/Casualty Agency Partnerships.

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Bubble Launches Online Embedded Insurance for Housing Industry in the Wake of $1.75M in Funding

Next by Pacific Life | January 14, 2022

Bubble, the company that has made getting tailored home and life insurance an instantaneous online process, today launched its turnkey Insurance-in-a-Box offering on the heels of $1.75M in pre-seed funding anchored by The House Fund with participation from Tuesday Capital, Correlation Ventures, and North Coast Ventures. With Bubble, real estate and mortgage companies are able to embed digital homeowner's and life insurance seamlessly into real estate transactions. This enables people buying a home or refinancing a mortgage to easily – often in just a few minutes online – protect their homes as well as their families' futures at the same time as making a home/loan purchase. Bubble's Embedded Insurance-in-a-Box offering includes widgets, APIs, white-labeled or co-branded consumer sites and referral URLs that real estate companies can use to embed accurate home and life insurance quotes into home and loan purchase flows. Combining data from home and mortgage transactions with its own extensive database and proprietary analytics, Bubble delivers custom-tailored quotes in real-time. Through Bubble's online portal, customers can further personalize their coverage, maximize discounts, complete their applications, and have their policies approved and issued in a matter of minutes. Bubble integrates directly with top-rated insurance companies to match customers with customized policies instantly online. Its AI-guided recommendation engine, Bubble LifePal, currently finds the products with optimal coverage from Stillwater for homeowner's insurance along with SBLI and Pacific Life for term life, and integrations with other insurers are forthcoming. Customers are presented with transparent, personalized insurance packages, and often are able to get underwriting decisions and have their policies issued, all online in minutes. "We are excited to offer our range of home insurance products on Bubble's all-digital platform, Bubble's intuitive online flows demystify the process while giving users the flexibility to customize coverages to their needs. Together with Bubble, we're making insurance buying as easy as pie." -Stillwater VP of Inside Sales and Sales Systems, Alisa Ruenprapan. Recognizing that home ownership is a key catalyst to life insurance purchase, Bubble pairs two unique term life products especially suited for younger home buyers: Next by Pacific Life & SBLI's Simplified Issue Term Life. "With Next Term Life, you don't have to anticipate the future and buy more life insurance than you need, You start with the coverage you need today and can increase or decrease at key life events, such as buying a house, without additional underwriting. It's an innovative product that lets you 'lock in' your health rating, typically when you're young and healthy. Bubble's online platform that integrates life insurance at this key milestone is the perfect entry point for Next Term Life." -Joe Kordovi, AVP of Innovations at Pacific Life. The other term life product by SBLI offers a completely fluid-less (i.e., no medical test) underwriting process and provides instant online decisions in minutes, a perfect complement for busy home buyers that already have their hands full. "SBLI is very happy to work with Bubble and offer a unique and simplified issue digital term insurance solution to Bubble customers through this valuable partnership. This strategic collaboration supports SBLI's continued commitment to build diversification in both our product and digital distribution areas," said Denis Clifford, SVP of Sales & Distribution at SBLI. "Bubble streamlines the natural flow of life events: starting a family, buying a home, insuring it, and insuring everyone living there, Millennials especially stand to reap the benefits of bundling life and home insurance while they're young and healthy. They can lock in a great rate for the next several decades. Our mission is to make it as simple and straightforward as possible for them to do that." -Bubble Co-founder & CEO Avi Gupta. Bubble's digital Insurance-in-a-Box helps real estate companies minimize friction and speed transactions by enabling customers to quickly get insurance when they're buying a home. Lenders and loan servicers also mitigate the risk of default with term life policies covering borrowers. These companies in the housing ecosystem can even monetize insurance by sharing commission splits or referral fees with Bubble under certain circumstances. Dan Zettler, partner at Barnstable Mortgage Group, noted: "As mortgage brokers for nearly 20 years, partnering with Bubble allows us to leapfrog our offerings into the digital world with a completely online experience for personalized home and life insurance. Taking the pain and hassle out of insurance purchases is a no-brainer!" About Bubble Bubble's mission is to help homeowners protect their homes, loved ones and everything under their roof with the right insurance coverages, at the right time for the right price. By embedding online insurance into the path of a home or mortgage purchase, Bubble's sophisticated AI algorithms combine data from the real estate transaction with its own extensive library, to streamline the process of buying insurance, from an online quote to application to instant approval. About Next by Pacific Life Next by Pacific Life was created to provide a better, seamless digital experience for the modern customer. Offering an innovative insurance product built for customer engagement, Next by Pacific Life easily integrates with key digital distribution partners like Bubble. About SBLI (The Savings Bank Mutual Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts) For over 115 years, SBLI (The Savings Bank Mutual Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts) has specialized in providing hassle-free, affordable life insurance. Whether it be term life, whole life or a plan that combines the two, they offer dependable protection, at a fair price.

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Paychex Wins Two Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Technology Awards

Brandon Hall Group, Inc. | December 23, 2021

Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance solutions, has won two Brandon Hall Group Excellence in Technology Awards. The company's Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) Service was recognized by Brandon Hall Group with a gold award for Excellence in Technology in the "Best Advance in HR or Workforce Management Technology for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses" category, and Paychex Pre-Check received a silver award for "Best Advance in Business Strategy and Technology Innovation." This is the ninth consecutive year that the research and analyst firm has recognized Paychex technology solutions. "HCM solution providers must be experts and visionaries in technology, but they also must have the ability to anticipate the diverse needs of employers as they work to adapt to ongoing change, This requires a blend of curiosity, empathy and agility that is difficult to achieve. We have seen an extraordinary level of insight and creativity from our Excellence in Technology winners that has been exciting to see." -Brandon Hall Group CEO Mike Cooke As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC) helps businesses claim tax credits on qualified wages paid to employees and health plan expenses in 2020 and 2021. Paychex introduced a new offering – the Paychex ERTC Service – to help businesses retroactively identify tax credits and file amended returns to claim the credit based on wages already paid. The Paychex ERTC Service leverages the Paychex Flex® technology to streamline and automate the amendment process, providing support for customers to identify and access government stimulus funds that could keep their business open. To date, the company has helped its customers apply for $6 billion in total tax credits in addition to $65 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) stimulus funds. "It is an honor for Paychex to be recognized by Brandon Hall Group for our ERTC service, which is a perfect blend of our compliance expertise, leading technology, and powerful customer support, Our team's speed and agility in implementing this solution has resulted in billions of dollars in stimulus for Paychex customers at a time when they need it the most to offset wage increases and address supply chain challenges." -Martin Mucci, Paychex CEO. Also recognized for advancements in technology innovation is Paychex Pre-Check. The Pre-Check technology provides employees the opportunity to preview their paycheck with a self-review of the gross-to-net paystub on a device of their choice to confirm its accuracy before payday. Payroll is the foundation of the employer-employee relationship. When errors occur, employers may increase the risk of losing trust and compromising retention. This critical solution was designed to increase payroll processing accuracy, reduce errors and expenses associated with payroll corrections, and offer a streamlined feedback loop between employers and employees through Paychex Flex. "Finding ways to simplify the business challenges that were amplified by the pandemic has been a driving force behind each innovation released within our cloud-based Paychex Flex software over the past year, Coupled with the human element of what we do as a service provider has led to an incredible opportunity for Paychex to make a difference for small and medium-sized businesses. We're proud of the work done to meet the needs of our customers and thankful for this validation by Brandon Hall Group." -Tom Hammond, Paychex vice president of corporate strategy and product management. A panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, and Brandon Hall Group senior analysts and executives, evaluated the entries based upon the following criteria: Product: What was the product's breakthrough innovation? Unique differentiators: What makes the product unique, and how does it differ from any competing products? Value proposition: What problem does the product solve and/or what need does this product address? Measurable results: What are the benefits customers can expect to experience as a result of using this product? The complete list of Technology Excellence Award winners can be found on the Brandon Hall Group awards page. About Paychex Paychex, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management software solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by 50 years of industry expertise, Paychex served more than 710,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2021 across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. About Brandon Hall Group, Inc. With more than 10,000 clients globally and 20 years of delivering world class research and advisory services, Brandon Hall Group is the most well-known and established research organization in the performance improvement industry. We conduct research that drives performance, and provides strategic insights for executives and practitioners responsible for growth and business results. Brandon Hall Group has an extensive repository of thought leadership, research and expertise in Learning and Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development, Talent Acquisition and Human Resources. At the core of our offerings is a Membership Program that Empowers Excellence Through Content, Collaboration and Community. Our members have access to research that helps them make the right decisions about people, processes, and systems, combined with research-powered advisory services customized to their needs.

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The annual EY Insurance Outlooks represent a perspective on key issues shaping the industry in the near term (three years). They complement the NextWave series, which takes a longer-term perspective (five years and beyond) and examines specific market scenarios that will shape the future of the industry.