Paying It Forward  
With Tim Shauf, President & CEO, 
The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group 
“As a mutual insurance company, we’re rooted in our communities and we believe this unprecedented time calls for unprecedented and innovative measures.”  In their response to the current crisis,  The Commonwell took a community–centered approach. In their Pay It Forward campaign, they’re issuing $100 to each of their 84,000  members, totalling $8.4M. Over the next few weeks, a letter with a cheque is  being sent to each household without any impact to the policy or additional administration.    “Relief measures apply to all members, regardless of their type of policy. We wanted to create the opportunity for members to use this one–time payment to ease financial pressure by helping pay a bill, buy groceries or donating to those in need if their circumstances allow. It’s about giving back—members can still change coverage or driving class, reduce receipts, or rely on other measures to reduce premiums.  “This initiative recognizes that while we can’t fix all problems, each of us, through individual decisions and individual actions, can make a difference.”  
To date, the feedback has been positive on both relief measures and process. “We’ve received comments on social media saying thank you and sharing how they were paying it forward in their community. Some of our brokers published the announcement on their company platforms and asked clients to share what they did to pay it forward. It’s about building community in every sense. Our brokers have been appreciative in the simplicity of our approach.”  For members facing financial hardship, The  Commonwell is introducing measures to create more flexibility and facilitating policy changes to reduce monthly premiums. Their existing community support program C.A.R.E. (Create a Ripple Effect) provides  employees $100 annually to allocate to a charitable organization supporting health, children or safety initiatives. This year The Commonwell  matched funds to respond to the crisis, and employees chose to donate to food banks and frontline workers in long–term care facilities.  In addition, over 1,600 Chef’s Plate meal kits were sent to frontline workers and over 1,000 emergency food boxes were delivered to local food banks—over 120,000 meals to support local communities.  “While the crisis has been devastating in so many ways, it’s been an opportunity to highlight the mutual difference. This is a reminder that a community will have a greater impact than an individual. Our impact is enabled through our community of 84,000 members and then magnified by their knowledge of their communities. We couldn’t have the same connection and impact on our own.” 
While we can’t fix all problems, each of us, through individual decisions and individual actions, can make a difference.
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