Responding to economic stresses caused by the coronavirus emergency, Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee is issuing $30 million in special payments to auto policyholders, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Pannell announced Wednesday.

During the state’s stay-at-home order, Tennesseans are driving less and are filing fewer automobile claims. While that trend may continue, and some insurers are taking a “pay it back” approach, Farm Bureau Insurance is opting to “pay it forward,” Pannell said.

The payment program is funded from Farm Bureau Insurance reserve funds, which are set aside to protect policyholders in catastrophes such as tornado outbreaks and massive hailstorms.

“This situation certainly rates as a catastrophe. It’s not the kind of shock we typically plan for, but we’re glad the money is there to help," Pannell said.

“It’s the right thing to do, both for our policyholders who may be in a financial bind, and for the state of Tennessee, which is in an economic slowdown,” Pannell said. “As the state’s leading automobile insurer, we believe we have a responsibility to pay it forward."

The special payment is based on approximately 24 percent of two months auto premium paid for each vehicle covered. Auto policyholders should start receiving checks in May 2020. Farm Bureau Insurance covers approximately 1.2 million automobiles, more than any other insurer in the state.

Farm Bureau Insurance of Tennessee, headquartered in Columbia, Tenn., is a single-state company that offers auto, home, and life insurance coverage to members of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. Membership is available to all Tennessee residents.