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Gift Card Insurance: Erie's Plan to Help Small Businesses During the Pandemic and Beyond

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When the COVID-19 pandemic began, small businesses felt the sting of restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus and turned to their customers, urging them to buy gift cards for support.

However, this time of uncertainty carries with it a risk. Erie Insurance decided to offer coverage on gift cards up to $250 with its homeowners policies at no additional charge. Erie Vice President Bob Buckel says the idea had widespread support.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get new things through insurance departments, but this was one because it was tied to the pandemic and helping that the insurance departments were actually very, very in favor of and approved very quickly for us,” Buckel said.

He says the insurance company got around 30 claims in the first month of the coverage.

“We don’t see a huge deluge of claims from these, and we’re not hoping we do because we’re hoping these small business don’t have to permanently close,” Buckel said.

He says the coverage will continue to be a part of Erie’s homeowners insurance policies after the pandemic.

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Kelsey Paulus is a Junior journalism at Kent State University. She is pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in journalism with a minor in design. Along with interning for WKSU, Kelsey is also a co-producer of TV2’s kentcore and a designer for A Magazine. She is an aspiring music journalist and hopes to work in the magazine industry someday.