By Loretta L. WortersVice President, Media Relations, Triple-I
While remote work offers many a respite from long commutes and rising gas prices, it can increase the vulnerability of victims of domestic violence. Increased risks include not only emotional and physical abuse, but also financial abuse—often one of the main reasons victims are unable to leave or have to return to the abusive relationship.
Cases of domestic violence increased between 25 and 35 percent worldwide when the pandemic began in 2020 and show little sign of abating, according to the report American Journal of Emergency Medicine. Financial dependency is a common tool that abusers use to gain power and control in a relationship. Victims continue to be isolated, exploited, and prevented from developing the resilience needed to break free and gain independence.
Without financial or insurance skills, it can be almost impossible for victims to rent an apartment or buy a car to escape an abuser — especially for black women, who are disproportionately affected.
In support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Triple-I offers five financial strategies that victims can use to protect themselves financially before and after leaving an abusive relationship:
- backup of financial records, including insurance policies;
- knowing where the victim stands financially;
- building a financial safety net;
- making necessary changes to insurance policies; and
- Maintaining good credit, which may also affect access to insurance.
Credit-based insurance ratings are confidential numerical ratings based in whole or in part on a consumer’s credit information. Many insurers use these values - in conjunction with other factors – to assist in the underwriting and pricing of policies, particularly for home and personal vehicle insurance. Actuarial studies find a strong correlation between the way people manage their financial affairs and their likelihood of making insurance claims.
Abuse victims often have bad credit for a variety of reasons. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports that victims of intimate partner violence lose a combined 8.0 million days of paid work each year, resulting in an annual cost of over $8.3 billion. Up to 60 percent of victims lose their jobs as a result of abuse, and the amount of abuse women endure is statistically correlated to their level of economic dependency.
“The manipulation of money and other economic resources is one of the most prominent forms of coercive control, and yet many victims do not even realize they are being controlled,” said Ruth Glenn, NCADV president and CEO and author of the memoir. Everything I never dreamed of, chronicling her struggle against abuse, violence and attempted murder. “That’s why it’s so important for victims to keep their checks, bank cards and insurance policies in a safe place that only they know – and, when they leave this abusive relationship, to take precautions to protect themselves through an address confidentiality program.” ”
Individuals in crisis who need immediate assistance should call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
“The financial education from the Insurance Information Institute can be a lifesaver and will make a real difference to many, many people,” Glenn said.
Other insurance industry resources for victims of domestic violence include the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, which provides volunteer services at Mosaic House, a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking in North Texas, and grants to organizations such as Dawn Rising, Human Options , the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, the Philadelphia Children’s Alliance, the Center for Safety and Change, Women Rising, the WINGS program and Sarah’s Inn – and the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse, the longest-running national program to which it relates focuses on ending domestic violence through financial support services for survivors.