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Who’s offering COVID-19 refunds, and who are laggards?

This week, New South Wales and Victoria clock up a combined 20 weeks of 2021 COVID-19 lockdowns.

Parts of Sydney are in their 11th straight week, while Victorians have endured nine weeks over three, stop-start sets of government-imposed restrictions.

Some non-government schools are offering partial refunds on their fees.

Some non-government schools are offering partial refunds on their fees.Credit:Louie Douvis

As a result, some businesses have begun giving partial refunds to their customers who cannot use their full range of services. The same thing happened last year, but this time the refunds have been a lot slower coming.

So far, a handful of insurers and private schools are seen to be doing the right thing. However, what about the rest? Many companies have become standout laggards.

Youi was a leader last year when it moved quickly to take the initiative by offering a 15 per cent discount for new and existing New South Wales and Victorian car insurance policyholders.

However, what about the big-two insurance groups, Suncorp and IAG? They were silent on discounts last year, and have remained that way in 2021.

To be fair, AAMI (part of Suncorp) is offering free roadside assistance until 2022 for all frontline pandemic workers, but what about other customers’ car insurance? People are driving only a fraction of the kilometres they have paid for.

Every car insurance premium is based to some extent on an estimate of how much you drive, so if you call your insurer now to say you are driving far less than anticipated, you could get a substantial refund on your premium. But why should you have to call them?

Health insurers NIB, Medibank and AIA Health have all promised to return some premiums, with many elective surgeries cancelled or postponed because of the pandemic.

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