MetLife and GM Free Insurance Pilot Program Comes to an End

A two-month sales incentive that offered free MetLife auto insurance policies to Pacific Northwest residents who bought new General Motors vehicles ended Tuesday, and officials with both companies are now trying to gauge the offer’s success.

“Now that the pilot (program) has ended, all parties involved are in the process of analyzing the program results,” MetLife spokesman David Hammarstrom said in an email.

The companies road-tested the sales program in Washington and Oregon in order to measure its appeal to consumers. GM and MetLife have said the program may be expanded to other states if there is sufficient demand.

Officials at both companies said the offer, which included a year’s worth of MetLife Auto & Home coverage, made things easier for consumers by providing policies along with new vehicles, eliminating the need to shop for cheap car insurance policies.

The MetLife policies include more than five times the minimum total liability coverage required under Washington and Oregon law and feature comprehensive and collision coverage that is mandated in neither state.

But the deal drew criticism from associations that represent independent insurance agents for allegedly cutting agents out of the policy-buying process.

Regulators in both states said they had analyzed the terms of the promotion and found everything to be completely legal.

Under the trial offer, consumers who bought GM trucks, cars or crossovers could be covered before they drove off the sales lot. No agents were involved in the process, and buyers were advised to contact MetLife with any policy questions or concerns.

Critics, including the Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance, claimed the offer not only took business away from independent agents, but also gave new car buyers coverage that might not have been right for them and could have clashed with their existing policies.

Because of that, car buyers with existing umbrella policies that cover multiple vehicles and their homes could find themselves out of compliance as a result of accepting the free coverage, according to the alliance.

That could mean missing out on discounts or paying out of pocket if a claim comes up, critics of the MetLife/GM offer contend.

In an interview last month, Hammarstrom said MetLife is hoping to increase its brand recognition through the offer. GM officials have said they may broaden the program if there is enough interest on the part of consumers.


About Gregor McGavin
Gregor McGavin is an award-winning journalist who has reported across the country for such publications as The Associated Press, the Arizona Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Press-Enterprise.

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