Where you shop and what you buy have at least as much environmental impact as all your everyday good works.
Around your house, you may number among Mother Earth’s very best friends, dutifully recycling, saving water, conserving electricity, and planting trees in every available square foot of fertile dirt. Just as importantly, you may read product labels and packaging descriptions, reducing petroleum derivatives and volatile organic compounds in the health, beauty, and cleaning supplies you bring home. You always may buy organically grown fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ markets. You may imagine you do just about everything an Earth-friendly consumer can do to save the planet, and when you do all these good works, you are almost correct. Remember, though, you influence green initiatives when you choose service-providers, banks, and insurance companies. When you choose a negligent corporation, you jeopardize all your noble efforts on the planet’s behalf. Therefore, sustain your good works by choosing an Earth-friendly car insurance company.
Three different business practices determine an insurance company’s green quotient: First, look carefully at how the company provides consumer incentives for eco-friendly choices. Second, examine how it controls waste and promotes energy conservation in its corporate operations; and, third, look at where and how corporate financiers invest your premium dollars. You want to see the company equally dedicated to all three eco-friendly business practices, because a company that gives hybrid discounts while investing in Amazon deforestation does not deserve your business. Industry analysts give exceptionally high marks to the following companies:
The red umbrella company with the Ingrid Michaelson theme music gets props for being first among big insurers to offer hybrid discounts, and their 10 percent discount for hybrid vehicles is now available in all fifty states—a boast no other company yet can make. Travelers has seized the initiative to become hybrid owners’ best corporate friend, launching a website devoted exclusively to all things hybrid, especially showing hybrid pilots how to save time, money, and the environment in every aspect of their driving. Since 2008, Travelers has offered a similar 10 percent discount for homeowners and small businesses that satisfy green building standards.
You wouldn’t normally think of the auto club as a friend of the earth, but this northwestern AAA affiliate scores big points for offering members a unique “Drive Green” option, which allows them to dedicate part of their premiums to purchases of carbon-offsets through the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. Each motorist may contribute up to 5000 “Green Tag” miles each year, meaning that approximately half of his or her annual mileage qualifies for offsets. The company has a similar carbon-offset purchase plan for its own vehicles.
The upstart little company carved-out a big market share and impressed investors by conducting almost all of its operations “in the cloud,” saving operating costs by reducing waste; the company is nearly 100% paperless. Just as importantly, the company buys carbon-offsets for 100% of its office-building energy use, and it has cut its fleet CO2 emissions by 50 percent as it has switched to hybrid claims vehicles. Esurance supports a number of environmental partnerships, has planted thousands of trees around the country, and twice has won the EarthCorps Spirit and Awareness Award for cause-marketing leadership.
According to the EPA agency that monitors auto repair facilities, Geico is a “true steward of the environment,” requiring company-authorized body and repair shops to complete comprehensive environmental and safety training and then pass rigorous inspection. The company has reduced its own energy consumption, and it has launched an aggressive campaign to promote e-billing and payment. Like its competitors, Geico belongs to several powerful and prestigious environmental partnerships, and company officials say, “The Gecko has planted thousands of trees.”
Your “good neighbor” leads the industry in green initiatives, securing Energy Star ratings for all of its office buildings, operating one of the nation’s largest alternative fuel fleets, and cutting overall fuel consumption 29 percent last year with aggressive investment in hybrids and other fuel efficient vehicles. Workers recently completed installation of a “green roof” on the company’s Charlottesville complex; in addition to insulating the building, the new roof cuts runoff and promotes rainwater recycling. Equally impressive, the company’s Austin, Texas Operations Center runs entirely on power from solar and wind generators.
Examining the list of eco-friendly companies, notice that affordable carriers dominate; you do not pay extra for a corporation’s social conscience. The companies on the list offer excellent protection at extremely competitive rates, so that you do not forfeit quality coverage or pay extra premiums when you choose an insurance company according to the planet’s needs.
About the Author
Andrew Greene is a freelance insurance writer who blogs for ppiclaims.org.uk where you can get help with ppi claims uk.