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.

This article originally appeared on November 11, 2015


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books from when you were a kid?

Like a lot of people, I grew up reading them. And now, I read them to my kids.

The best!

If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps this character from the "Busytown" series will. Classic!

Image via

Scarry was an incredibly prolific children's author and illustrator. He created over 250 books during his career. His books were loved across the world — over 100 million were sold in many languages.

But here's something you may not have known about these classics: They've been slowly changing over the years.

Don't panic! They've been changing in a good way.

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Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

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Any time conversations about wealth and poverty come up, people inevitably start talking about boots.

The standard phrase that comes up is "pull yourself up by your bootstraps," which is usually shorthand for "work harder and don't ask for or expect help." (The fact that the phrase was originally used sarcastically because pulling oneself up by one's bootstraps is literally, physically impossible is rarely acknowledged, but c'est la vie.) The idea that people who build wealth do so because they individually work harder than poor people is baked into the American consciousness and wrapped up in the ideal of the American dream.

A different take on boots and building wealth, however, paints a more accurate picture of what it takes to get out of poverty.

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On Tuesday, Upworthy reported that actor Peter Dinklage was unhappy with Disney’s decision to move forward with a live-action version of “Snow White and the Seven Drawfs” starring Rachel Zegler.

Dinklage praised Disney’s inclusive casting of the “West Side Story” actress, whose mother is of Colombian descent, but pointed out that, at the same time, the company was making a film that promotes damaging stereotypes about people with dwarfism.

"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on, I've gotta say, from being somebody who's a little bit unique," Dinklage told Marc Maron on his “WTF” podcast.

"Well, you know, it's really progressive to cast a—literally no offense to anybody, but I was a little taken aback by, they were very proud to cast a Latino actress as Snow White," Dinklage said, "but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' Take a step back and look at what you're doing there.”

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