With roads empty, Allstate and American Family Insurance returning $800 million in premiums to customers
via Matt Pearce / Twitter

The coronavirus has obviously been a huge disaster for the economy and public health. However, there have been some positives that have come from the pandemic.

Traffic accidents and deaths are way down because no one is on the road.

A study by UC Davis found that since California's stay-at-home order on March 20, vehicle collisions are down by half.

"The reduction works out to about 15,000 fewer collisions per month and 6,000 fewer injury accidents per month," said Fraser Shilling, co-director of the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis.

The study also says the stay-at-home order resulted in a 60% drop in traffic volume.


A similar study out of the state of Washington, one of the first regions in the U.S. to feel the impact of the virus, yielded similar results. Washington State Patrol traffic data says that motor vehicle accidents in the last two weeks of March declined by 67% over the same period in 2019.

via Pixabay

Because of the drastic change in drivers' behavior, two auto insurance companies, Allstate and American Family Insurance announced they will be returning a total of $800 billion to their customers.

Allstate says it will refund about 15% of premiums paid by customers in April and May. That amount comes to about $600 million.

American Family Insurance says it will return about $50 per car that a household has insured with the company which adds up to about $200 million.

"Given an unprecedented decline in driving, customers will receive a Shelter-in-Place Payback," Allstate CEO Tom Wilson said in a statement. "This is fair because less driving means fewer accidents."

Reports that Allstate has sent to insurance regulators show that it pays out a little more than a billion in claims every month. If Allstate returned all of the money it has saved in payouts due to the pandemic, the figure would be significantly higher than its $600 million pledge.

via Pictures of Money / Flickr

Dan Karr, a the CEO of ValChoice, an insurance company watchdog group, says the gesture is nice, but insurance companies should be more generous during these trying times.

"I think it's great what Allstate did. But where's the rest of savings?" Karr told CNN Business.

"Is it enough? Probably not," J. Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, said according to CNN. "The actions by American Family and Allstate are the right thing to do to help policyholders beleaguered by Covid-19 restrictions and job loss. We urge other insurers to take similar actions quickly."

Allstate and American Family Insurance may be profiting off the coronavirus, but that's part of the risk-reward when being in the insurance game. They don't have to give a dime back to anyone, so they're actions are a lot more than we've come to accept from insurance companies.

Hopefully, others will follow suit and give more families a break at one of the most economically challenging times in American history.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.