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West Bend's Response to COVID-19

The effects of COVID-19 are more far reaching than anyone could have imagined. As a result, West Bend is continually looking for ways to help. Here are some of the things we’ve done so far ...

 

Payments made to some business policyholders

COVID-19 has affected all of us. Because of mandatory closures or changes in operations, however, some businesses have experienced a greater impact. In response to this, West Bend is pleased to announce we’ll be returning a portion of some business policyholders’ premium. These payments will be made to businesses whose polices were in effect as of March 11, 2020, the date the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and whose premiums don’t fluctuate due to changing exposures. Pending regulatory approval, these payments will automatically be issued as checks and sent to eligible policyholders in the coming weeks. 

Through good times and bad, West Bend remains committed to our policyholders. That commitment includes our industry-leading claim service and our dedication to providing The Silver Lining®.

 

West Bend and its independent agencies support COVID-19 relief efforts

West Bend proudly partnered with our independent agencies by making combined donations of $2,500 each to 78 organizations that help those impacted by COVID-19.

See the list here.

 

West Bend offers support to policyholders, associates and community
Policy give back and charitable donations in COVID-19 relief efforts

In response to COVID-19, West Bend Mutual Insurance and the West Bend Mutual Insurance Charitable Trust announced new efforts to help the greater community while the company gives back to its associates, agents, and policyholders. Understanding the unique circumstances and challenges each group faces, West Bend has implemented a multi-phased relief approach to best serve its people and the community over time.

“One of West Bend’s operating principles is ‘We serve our community,’ and during this uncertain time, it was without question that we would extend support to all of the people who are critical to our organization,” said Kevin Steiner, president and CEO of West Bend Mutual Insurance. “We also remain committed to our policyholders and associates and will continually look for additional ways to support them and provide the Silver Lining during this pandemic.” Steiner added the company’s COVID-19 relief efforts for associates, as well as charities, are close to $750,000 in total.

Here are some of the ways West Bend is helping communities get through the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Policyholders: On Wednesday, April 8, West Bend announced it will send a one-time payment of $50 to Home and Highway® policyholders to provide some help in these uncertain times. These payments will be processed for those whose vehicles were insured with the company as of March 11, 2020, the date the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In addition, the company is extending premium due dates for all policyholders impacted by the crisis and automatically provides coverage on personal vehicles used by employees of restaurants that now offer delivery services.
  • Associates: West Bend’s associates number more than 1,300, all of whom are committed to providing exceptional service to policyholders and agents. As a small gesture of support, West Bend gifted each associate with a $150 bonus to use as a donation to a favorite nonprofit organization or toward restaurant carry-out or patronage of local businesses, both as a reward for their hard work in these trying times and as a way they can show support for businesses and organizations affected by the statewide Safer-At-Home orders.
  • Community: The West Bend Mutual Insurance Charitable Trust is awarding grants to more than 20 nonprofit organizations, many of which provide direct support or relief for the COVID-19 crisis in the community. The two largest donations were awarded to Feeding America and the Red Cross of Southeast Wisconsin, which each received $50,000 to aid their noble pursuits to provide food, shelter, and blood to those in need during this very uncertain time.
  • Agents: West Bend has partnered with their independent insurance agencies to support worthy organizations in their communities that help those impacted by this pandemic, such as food pantries, blood centers, and free clinics. If the agency commits to donating $500, West Bend will pledge an additional $2,000. West Bend’s donation comes from grants made through its Independent Agents’ Fund and are part of the company’s Spirit of the Silver Lining Awards. These awards and grants are presented annually to nonprofit organizations supported by the company’s independent insurance agents.

"We are so grateful to partner with organizations like West Bend Mutual Insurance, who never waver in their commitment to their community," said Patti Habeck, president and CEO of Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin. "Gifts large and small make a huge impact on those who are in need of hunger relief, especially now as we operate in uncertain times."

 

Payments to be made to Home and Highway® policyholders

The coronavirus has turned our lives upside down in so many ways. It’s changed the way many of us work and is keeping all of us closer to home.

In response to all that’s going on around us, we’re happy to announce we’ll be sending a one-time payment of $50 to Home and Highway policyholders who insured their vehicles with us as of March 11, 2020, the date the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. We hope these additional dollars provide some help as we move forward in these uncertain times. We’re currently consulting with insurance regulators to gain approval for our plan and finalizing how to deliver the payments as quickly as possible. More details will follow in the coming days.

Through good times and bad, West Bend remains committed to our to policyholders. That commitment includes our industry-leading claim service and the Claim Free Award – returning a portion of your premium when you don’t have a claim during a policy term. We appreciate our policyholders’ loyalty and wish you and your loved ones good health and better days ahead.

 

Extended premium due dates

We understand some of our policyholders have been financially impacted, possibly creating stress and hardship as bills become due, so we’ve extended due dates for invoices. If you’re experiencing hardship, please contact our Billing Department at 1-800-236-5002 or at billing@wbmi.com. Because we anticipate longer-than-usual hold times for callers, you may wish to send an email message. We expect to return your email message within one to two business days. Please be sure to include your policy/account number and contact information

If your need is urgent, you may call 1-800-236-5002, Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm CST. Again, please be aware you may experience longer-than-usual hold times.

If you can make a payment, please use our online payment tools, use the payment coupon on your invoice, or call 1-800-236-5002 and follow the “make a payment” menu.

As we navigate through these uncertain times and unprecedented circumstances, we pledge to continue to provide coverages and services for your business based on your policy.

 

Hired and Non-Owned Auto coverage for food deliveries

As many restaurants have turned to food delivery while their dining rooms are closed, some business owners are seeking to add Hired and Non-Owned Auto coverage for employee drivers who are making food deliveries as another option to generate revenue. West Bend has made a temporary exception to allow submissions to add coverage for Hired and Non-Owned Auto for policyholders who need and request the coverage. The submissions will be subject to underwriting review and acceptance. Please contact your agent if you have questions or want to discuss adding this coverage to your existing policy.

 

Personal vehicle coverage extended to food delivery exposures in Wisconsin

A government directive in Wisconsin has ordered bars and restaurants closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, however, these businesses are able to provide take-out or delivery of food. In response to this new way of doing business, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance in Wisconsin has stated that insurance companies cannot deny a claim under a personal auto insurance policy solely if the vehicle owner/driver was delivering food on behalf of a restaurant impacted by the closure.

West Bend is pleased to share that if you’re a Home and Highway® policyholder, you already have coverage on your personal auto for this situation. Under normal circumstances, we would apply a Business Use rate to the auto being used for food delivery; however, as long as Wisconsin continues under the public health emergency order, West Bend will waive the Business Use rate for those policyholders who are employed by a bar or restaurant and temporarily delivering food due to the closure of their bar/restaurant.

 

Changes made to claims inspection procedures

For the health of our associates and our policyholders, West Bend has made changes in the way we conduct some claims inspections, as well as auto appraisals.

For claims involving exterior damage to a home, auto, or business, inspections can be conducted as usual; however, we for your safety and ours, a West Bend claim rep or auto damage appraiser will conduct all communication by phone, email, or text rather than meeting with you in person at the time of inspection. We ask that contractors or public adjusters are not present when our claim reps are conducting inspections; our reps will contact these parties by phone or email.

For claims involving interior damage, our claim reps will use a phone scope, photos, or video to estimate the damage.

If you feel comfortable with a contractor working in your home, our claim rep will work with that contractor’s scope and estimate.

As an added safety measure, our claim reps will not hand out business cards or other documents to customers.

Safety and health are the primary reasons West Bend is using these alternative methods to inspect damage. Thank you for your understanding.

As we all do our best to get through the weeks ahead, more unique situations may arise. We’ll keep you notified of our response to them.

©2014 West Bend Mutual Insurance Company

1900 South 18th Ave., West Bend, WI 53095

P: 262-334-5571
F: 262-334-9109

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