Auto Insurance and Environmentalism

This entry was posted by on Friday, 5 March, 2010 at

After doing some research into the banks I started wondering if the other FIRE industries were interested in redesigning their systems to have a beneficial effect on the environment. It seems like when most people think about green finance, the images that come to mind are loans to companies building solar power plants, windmills, and hydroelectric dams. As we saw earlier today, even a minor change like switching from paper envelopes and deposit forms to an OCR reader can have a large effect when it is implemented across the whole world. So I decided to look up some auto insurance companies and see what plans they have created to save energy and reduce pollution.

AAA is the company I’ve always used. It’s very well known and also has a club associated with the company that can get you discounts of around 10-15% on typical travel expenses like hotel rooms and car rentals. So I decided to see how green this auto insurance company was. Evidently a competitor appeared to challenge them a few years back, called Better World Club. Looks like this auto insurance club was set up to directly compete with AAA based on environmental issues. BWC’s comparison chart claims that it provides many additional services that AAA does not provide, although they also admit that these are premium services and their insurance rates are slightly higher. A few novel services that BWC introduced include bicycle roadside assistance, and discounts on hybrid car rentals, which is a nice feature. One of the items that does stand out is AAA’s $300,000 coverage of travel accident insurance – only available on AAA’s plus plan according to the BWC site, but this could be a potential dealbreaker depending on how heavily one rates it.

AAA did respond to the challenge, and now offers several green services. AAA now offers bicycle roadside assistance according to BWC. Interestingly enough, BWC actually mentions this benefit prominently in their own comparison chart, and it did not come up on my local AAA site which was surprising. A little searching showed the reason why. The Oregon Live blog has more information about it. It’s currently only available in Oregon and Idaho. Explains why I don’t see it as my region is Southern California, although I am surprised that it wasn’t rolled out in our state first. The article claims that AAA polled its Oregon members and found 37% wanted bicycle roadside assistance added to their insurance plans, although I wonder if they would remain enthusiastic if the policy fees had a corresponding increase. Another site reports that AAA introduced a Green Response Team at the Superbowl last year, showing off their Segways which also have the benefit of being very agile, improving response speed.

Comments are closed.