State COVID-19 Bulletins
Many states have issued notices or bulletins that request or require accommodations for insureds during the COVID-19 crisis. WSIA has analyzed each of the statements from regulators and compiled a compliance chart of those states requesting or requiring a moratorium on cancellation and nonrenewal of policies, relaxation of premium due dates or refund of premiums. The chart indicates the parameters of the guidance, the applicability to surplus lines, whether the guidance is voluntary or mandatory and any additional guidance obtained from regulators or Stamping Offices.
WSIA Compliance Chart on COVID-19 Moratoriums and Premium Refunds (updated June 3, 2020)
WSIA is also keeping a more comprehensive listing of those same notices and bulletins as well as any data calls, guidance on business interruption insurance, accommodations for regulatory requirements, and any other guidance relevant to surplus lines brokers, nonadmitted carriers or both. This is a summary of those statements compiled by WSIA as of June 3, 2020. Learn more about WSIA policy positions on state and federal COVID-19-related legislative and regulatory advocacy here.
The NAIC is issuing a two-part, COVID-19 Property/Casualty Data Call to admitted and non-admitted U.S. insurers regarding business interruption policies. A separate data call has been issued directly to alien insurers. Part 1, containing premium and exposure data, was issued on May 11 and is due June 1. Part 2, containing claims and loss data, is anticipated to be issued May 18 and is due monthly beginning on June 15.
For state producer licensing activity, we recommend reviewing the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) COVID-19 Producer Licensing Bulletins Issued by Departments for the most up to date information. Additional producer licensing information is available at NIPR.com.
The NAIC issued a NAIC COVID-19 white paper which discusses various coverages and includes a section on business interruption. Additionally, they maintain a Coronavirus Resources Center covering a broad array of information and resources for all sectors of insurance.
The Department of Insurance issued BULLETIN NO. 2020-09 on April 29 requesting that all property and casualty insurers make accommodations to policyholders in the areas of claim reporting/first notice of loss, sworn statements in proof of loss, additional living expenses/loss of use/rental reimbursement, examinations under oath and replacement cost payments. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Department of Insurance issued BULLETIN NO. 2020-05 on March 30, recommending insurers consider the following actions for applicable policies in force as of March 13, 2020; relaxing due dates for premium payments, extending grace periods, waiving late fees and penalties, allowing premium payment plans which will avoid a lapse in coverage, expanding automobile coverage to allow personal vehicles to be covered while delivering food, medicine or other essential services for commercial purposes. Insurers should consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting all efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage. A policy may be cancelled or non-renewed for legally recognized reasons or policy provisions other than late or failure to pay premiums. The bulletin is addressed to all admitted insurers authorized to write property and casualty insurance.
The Division of Insurance issued Order R2-04 on April 15, clarifying that carriers are prohibited from terminating insurance contracts due to non-payment. The bulletin also clarifies that the extension of the grace period does not eliminate the obligation to pay the premium, but limits policy cancellation for late payment. Where carriers do not collect premium payments directly, carriers nonetheless bear the credit risk if policyholders do not satisfy their payment commitments under applicable agency bill or premium finance agreements after the grace period ends. The bulletin is effective until November 15 or until the Governor determines the emergency is over. The bulletin is applicable to all insurers licensed or issuing insurance in Alaska
The Division of Insurance issued Order R20-03 on April 15, allowing midterm premium reductions to be facilitated by self-audit and self-reporting and mandating that policies already subject to audit be permitted to self-audit and self-report. The bulletin also says that these measures will not be considered rebates or unfair discrimination if reasonably and consistently applied. The Order is effective April 20, 2020 and expires November 15, 2020 or when the Governor declares the public health disaster emergency no longer exists. The order is applicable to all insurers licensed in or issuing insurance in Alaska.
The Division of insurance issued Bulletin B 20-10 on March 20, requesting that insurers adjust premiums where exposure is reduced and for policies that are subject to audit, insurers are encouraged to allow self-auditing and self-reporting in lieu of physical audits to the extent that physical audits are impracticable. The bulletin is addressed to all insurers writing property and casualty insurance in the state but does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business. This bulletin expired on June 1, 2020.
The Division of Insurance issued Bulletin B 20-08 which prohibits carriers from terminating insurance contracts due to non-payment until June 1. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business. This bulletin expired on June 1, 2020.
The Department of Insurance issued REGULATORY BULLETIN 2020-04 on April 16, encouraging insurers to offer several relief options including: refrain from cancelling or non-renewing policies due to non-payment; grace periods for premium payments; establish premium payment plans for late payments; waive late fees, interest, and penalties; delay premium increases; suspend use of credit reports for rating; refrain from cancelling auto policies due to expiration of driver’s license (pursuant to Governor’s Executive Order on licensing renewals); extend time frame for health providers to submit claims; extend time frame for policyholders to replace or repair in order to ensure recovery or withheld depreciation; and extend time frames to undergo medical examinations. The bulletin is addressed to all insurers providing any insurance coverage including P&C and other types of insurance but does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Insurance Department issued BULLETIN NO. 20-2020 on May 11, directing all insurers and other regulated entities to provide it with the appropriate email address the company has designated to field consumer contacts during this health emergency and advising all insurers and other regulated industries that they must continue to adjust claims as expeditiously as possible during this emergency in compliance with the provisions of AID Rule 43. The bulletin is addressed to all admitted and surplus lines carriers doing business in this state.
The Insurance Department issued BULLETIN NO. 21-2020 on May 11, issuing an extended 45 day moratorium on the cancellation/non-renewal of personal lines and life and health insurance policies for the non-payment of premiums for the following Arkansas residents who, since March 11, 2020, have: been diagnosed with/positively tested for COVID-19; or as a consequence of the COVID-19 health emergency, have been terminated, laid off, or who are self-employed or an independent contractor and have experienced a cessation of work. The bulletin is addressed to all admitted and surplus lines carriers doing business in this state.
The Insurance Department issued BULLETIN NO. 20-2020 on May 11, indicating that Bulletins No. 12-2020 and No. 6-2020 relevant to surplus lines policies are rescinded effective May 11.
The Insurance Department issued BULLETIN NO. 12-2020 on March 27, issuing a 60-day moratorium on the cancellation/non-renewal of personal lines insurance policies and directs all insurers and regulated entities that personal lines insurance policies for Arkansas residents in effect on March 11, 2020 remain in effect until the expiration of Executive Order 20-03 on May 11. Insurers are directed not to cancel, non-renew, or terminate coverage for non-payment of premiums while this Bulletin is in effect. The moratorium applies to Arkansas residents who, as a consequence of the COVID-19 health emergency, have been terminated, laid off, or who are self-employed or an independent contractor and have experienced a cessation of work as of the date of Executive Order 20-03 (March 11). Citizens who apply for unemployment benefits as a result of the health emergency and are approved are presumptively subject to this moratorium. The moratorium only applies to cancellation and non-renewals attributed to a failure to pay premiums. The bulletin is directed to all admitted and surplus lines insurance carriers doing business in Arkansas and other interested parties.
The Insurance Department issued BULLETIN NO. 9-2020 on March 23, intended to inform consumers about business interruption insurance relative to the current COVID-19 health emergency. The bulletin says that coverage is triggered when the policyholder sustains physical damage to insured property caused by a covered peril resulting in a quantifiable business interruption loss and that viruses and disease are typically not an insurance peril unless added by endorsement.
The Insurance Department issued BULLETIN NO. 6-2020 to establish a 60-day moratorium on the cancellation/non-renewal of insurance policies for the non-payment of premiums for Arkansans diagnosed with/positively tested for COVID-19. The Bulletin also requests that insurers provide a contact designed to field consumer contacts during the emergency and encourages insurers to use all possible methods to adjust claims remotely. The Bulletin is applicable to both admitted and nonadmitted carriers.
The California Department of Insurance (CDI) issued Bulletin 2020-4 on May 15, extending the requirements of Bulletin 2020-3, that insurers issue premium refunds for the month of May in addition to March and April. The new bulletin, reporting template and reporting instructions each reference admitted and nonadmitted insurers. The CDI continues to acknowledge that they do not have clear authority to enforce compliance on nonadmitted insurers but that they expect nonadmitted insurers to comply. The directives indicate that refunds for affected policyholders must be made within 120 days of the original bulletin (by August 11) and that reports to the CDI must be submitted within 60 days of the original bulletin (by June 12).
The CDI issued a Notice on May 15, extending the grace period for insurance premium payments until July 14, 2020.
The CDI issued a Notice on May 14, indicating insurers and other persons engaged in the business of insurance in this state are hereby directed to comply with their various legal obligations under the California Unfair Practices Act (Cal. Ins. Code §790.03 et seq.) to promptly and fairly settle insurance claims. The notice also warns insurers against taking advantage of the overcrowded court system to provide unjustifiably low settlement offers. The notice is directed to all admitted and non-admitted insurance companies.
The CDI issued a Notice on May 5 strongly encouraging insurers to refrain from using the expiration of policyholders’ drivers licenses for any of the reasons set forth in the March 18, 2020 Notice prior to the new expiration dates applicable to commercial and non-commercial drivers’ licenses. The notice is directed to all admitted and non-admitted P&C automobile insurance companies and other interested parties.
The CDI issued a Notice on April 22, granting an automatic three-month extension to file a return and pay surplus lines premium tax that requires payment of less than $1 million (based on the 2019 Annual Tax Liability). Any insurer or surplus lines broker that qualifies for the automatic extension will also be relieved automatically from any penalty or interest that would otherwise apply. Any insurer or surplus lines broker that does not qualify for an automatic extension and is unable to meet the applicable filing deadlines may, prior to the applicable filing deadline, request an extension to file its premium tax return and pay the required premium taxes. Individual requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and taxpayers will be notified if their extension request has been approved or denied. The due date for annual surplus lines premium tax was March 1, however, brokers whose preceding year's tax liability was $20,000 or more are required to pay monthly tax due the first of the month, three months after the month the insurance was placed.
The CDI issued a Notice on April 15, reminding insurers that the California Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations require licensees to accept, forward, acknowledge and fairly investigate claims, including but not limited to, business interruption claims. It also notes that every insurer, with certain exceptions, is required to acknowledge a notice of claim immediately, but in no event more than 15 days after receipt of the notice of claim and it reminds insurers that they must accept or deny the claim, in whole or in part, no more than 40 days after receipt of the proof of claim, after conducting a thorough, objective and fair investigation.
The CDI issued Bulletin 2020-03 on April 13, ordering insurers to make an initial premium refund. The CDI acknowledged that they do not have authority to order surplus lines insurers to comply with the bulletin considering they do not have authority to regulate rates charged by surplus lines insurers but indicated that they expect surplus lines insurers to comply with the bulletin given that it is the right thing to do. The refunds must be made for the months of March and April to all adversely impacted California policyholders in the following lines of insurance—as quickly as possible—but no later than 120 days after the date of issuance: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers’ compensation, commercial multiperil, commercial liability, medical malpractice and any other line of coverage where the measures of risk have become substantially overstated as a result of the pandemic. According to APCIA, the CDI indicated "We expect surplus lines insurers to comply given that it's the right thing to do for consumers and businesses in these extraordinary times. However, as you know, we do not have authority to order surplus lines insurers to comply."
The CDI issued Notice 3-26-2020 questions related to “business interruption“ coverages provided by commercial insurance policies. In order to understand the number and scope of business interruption type coverages in effect, and the approximate number of policies that exclude viruses such as COVID-19, the Department of Insurance is issuing an urgent data survey of insurers related to their commercial business interruption policies. The notice was issued to all admitted and nonadmitted insurance companies doing business in California.
The Surplus Lines Association of California issued a message indicating that it will move employees to a telecommuting status until July 31, 2020, and they will remain fully functional during normal business hours.
The CDI issued a Notice requesting that all insurance companies provide their insureds with at least a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums so that insurance policies are not canceled for nonpayment of premium during this challenging time due to circumstances beyond the control of the insured. The notice is applicable to all admitted and nonadmitted insurance companies issuing policies in California.
The Division of Insurance issued Bulletin No. B-5.41 and FAQ on May 5, directing all insurers that issue and have in effect property and casualty insurance policies in the State of Colorado under Article 4 of Title 10, C.R.S. to accept, to the extent reasonably possible, photographs and/or video, measurements and other reasonable digital data to document a claim for damaged property submitted to the insurer by a claimant, an insured or a valid representative of the claimant or insured. If necessary, insurers and insureds may postpone an in-person property damage inspection to a reasonable and mutually agreeable date when the property may be safely inspected and electronic and digital information is not sufficient to document the loss. Insureds and third-party claimants are still required to mitigate damages to the extent possible. The FAQ indicates that surplus lines carriers are not exempted from the requirements of Section 10-3-1104, C.R.S.; therefore, the Division expects the surplus lines to follow the guidance provided in Bulletin 5.41.
The Division of Insurance issued Bulletin No. B-5.38 on March 27, which directing all insurers that issue and have in effect property and casualty insurance policies in the State of Colorado under Article 4 of Title 10, C.R.S. and insurance producers who collect and remit premiums in accordance with Section 10-2-704, C.R.S., to make reasonable accommodations to prevent individuals and businesses from losing coverage due to cancellation for the non-payment of premium. Accommodations include but are not limited to extension of premium grace periods; waiver of late payment fees; a moratorium on cancellations for non-payment; defer any non-renewal underwriting actions; and provide a continuation of coverage for any expiring policy. Accommodations should be made until relevant Colorado Public Health and Environment orders are rescinded or until the bulletin is rescinded, whichever is later. Insurers are also encouraged to take steps to use electronic payments whenever possible. The applicable statutes referenced by the bulletin are not applicable to nonadmitted insurance; however, the Division also issued an FAQ to the bulletin indicating that they hope and expect the surplus lines market to consider the direction in the bulletin.
The Governor issued Executive Order No. 7S effective on April 1, indicating that no insurer may, without a without a court order, lapse, terminate or cause to be forfeited a covered insurance policy because a covered policyholder does not pay a premium or interest or indebtedness on a premium under the policy who suffered certain losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This grace period applies to entities licensed or regulated by the Insurance Department including admitted and non-admitted insurance companies that provide any insurance coverage in Connecticut including, life, health, auto, property, casualty, and other types of insurance. The mandatory grace period expired June 1, 2020.
The Insurance Department issued Bulletin IC-40 on March 24, requesting that all insurance companies provide their insureds with at least a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums so that insurance policies are not cancelled for nonpayment of premium. The Department is also requesting that agents and brokers take steps to ensure that customers can make prompt payments including alternative methods, such as online payments, to eliminate the need for in person payment methods. The bulletin expired June 1, 2020.
The Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking issued BULLETIN 20-IB-2-05/08 on May 8, indicating that the commissioner's order is applicable to premium finance companies.
The Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking issued Commissioner’s Order 03-2020 on April 27, which prohibits all insurance companies authorized to conduct business in the District from terminating insurance contracts due to non-payment. The prohibition will not eliminate the obligation to pay unpaid premiums but will be considered an extension of the grace period. To this end, insurance companies shall provide policyholders the ability to repay any unpaid premiums in installments over a period of not less than twelve (12) months beginning one month after the end of the Public Health Emergency. Insurance companies shall also waive late fees for premium payments due but not paid. The order directs insurers to make a number of additional reasonable accommodations and directs insurers to allow policyholders to self-audit and self-report changes in their exposure for policies that calculate premiums based upon exposure estimate. The bulletin is directed to all insurance companies authorized to conduct business in the District, including life, health maintenance organizations, hospital and medical service corporations, property and casualty, taxicab, fraternal benefit societies and insurance premium finance companies but not captives and risk retention groups (RRGs).
The Department of Insurance issued BULLETIN NO. 116 and BULLETIN NO. 32 on March 26, prohibiting insurers from cancellations and nonrenewals due to nonpayment of premium during the pendency of the Governor’s declared state of emergency, which has been extended until May 31. Covered policies include property, motor vehicle and commercial/business insurance policies. The bulletin applies to any individual or business entity who was laid off or fired from their employment or was required to close or significantly reduce its business as a result of the conditions imposed under COVID-19. The previous directive on March 20 requested that admitted and non-admitted carriers suspend cancellations and nonrenewals. The bulletins are set to expire on June 7, 2020, upon the expiration of the state of emergency.
The Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) issued INFORMATIONAL MEMORANDUM OIR-20-04M on March 25, encouraging insurers and regulated entities to be flexible with premium payments in order to avoid lapses in coverage. Such flexibility can include relaxing due dates, extending grace or reinstatement periods, waiving late fees and penalties and allowing payment plans. Regulated entities, agents, consumers, and employers are also strongly encouraged to explore virtual options for underwriting and adjusting claims in lieu of in-person property inspections and for premium audits of employers’ records. Regulated entities are also encouraged to accept electronic communications in lieu of handwritten and the OIR will accept electronic signatures and notarizations that comply with Florida statutes.
The Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner issued Directive 20-EX-7 on April 28, confirming that the cancellation moratorium for nonpayment expired on May 19, 2020.
The Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner issued Directive 20-EX-5 on March 20, directing all property and casualty insurers to refrain from canceling, for the cause of non-payment, any commercial policies that include business interruption or business income coverage for 60 days. The Commissioner is also making temporary and appropriate accommodations for certain insurer filing requirements and attendant deadlines. Accordingly, all non-federal filing deadlines are temporarily suspended, and all applicable late filing fees are waived until the Commissioner determines business operations may return to normal. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted insurers.
The Commissioner issued BULLETIN 20-EX-3 to Georgia consumers which discusses business interruption coverage and indicates that virus and disease are typically not an insured peril for business interruption coverage unless added by endorsement.
The Division of Insurance issued MEMORANDUM 2020-4A on April 27, indicating that they will not regard certain accommodations as unfair trade practices or unfair methods of competition and will support virtual inspections and increased use of electronic delivery methods for consumer notifications and interactions. The memo also reiterates its encouragement that insurers provide the accommodations that were specified in MEMORANDUM 2020-3I and remains in effect until June 26 unless otherwise extended. The memo is directed to all admitted and non-admitted insurers offering policies in Hawaii.
The Division of Insurance issued MEMORANDUM 2020-3I on March 27, encouraging insurers to refrain from cancelling or nonrenewing policies due to nonpayment during this time of hardship and to grant a grace period for premium payments, to work with insureds on a structured payment plan for late premiums, waive late fees and penalties, extend time frames to complete property and auto inspections or medical examinations and to continue working with insureds for a period of 60 days after the health emergency has passed or as long as reasonably practical. The memo is directed at any admitted or nonadmitted companies providing property and casualty insurance in Hawaii.
The Division of Insurance issued MEMORANDUM 2020-1LIC notifying licensees, including surplus lines brokers, that they may continue to submit their applications and pay fees via the National Insurance Producer Registry and active licensees may continue to renew their license at the Hawaii DCCA portal. The Division strongly encourages licensees to renew early, up to 90 days prior to their license expiration date because reactivation within two years of inactivation cannot be done online and must be submitted in paper format.
The Department of Insurance issued BULLETIN NO. 20-05 on April 15, encouraging carriers to consider implementing the following activities: waiver of fees, penalties, or other charges relating to an insured’s temporary inability to submit premium payments or otherwise respond to an insurer’s inquiries; extensions of grace periods for payment of premiums; additional time before non-renewals or cancellation become effective; extensions of proof of loss deadlines; for policies that are subject to audit, allowance of self-auditing and self-reporting in lieu of physical audits to the extent that physical audits are impracticable; encouraging policyholders to use electronic payment technology on websites, apps and electronic bank transfers whenever possible to avoid in person payments; and expanding automobile coverage to allow personal vehicles to be covered while delivering food, medicine, or other essential services for commercial and charitable purposes. The bulletin is specific to insurers subject to statutes 41-2401 and 41-2501 which do not include surplus lines insurers.
The Department of Insurance (DOI) issued Company Bulletin #2020-12 on May 5, extending the safeguards listed in Company Bulletin #2020-09 through May 29, 2020. The bulletin expired on May 29, 2020.
The DOI-issued Company Bulletin #2020-09 on April 3, requests insurers consider implementing the following protective measures: Seek to postpone or withdraw any previous notice of cancellation or nonrenewal in which the cancellation or nonrenewal occurs on/after March 9, 2020 on any in-force policy; consider postponing the issuance of any new cancellation or nonrenewal notices through April 30, 2020 or a later time if considered reasonable given an individual’s circumstances; consider granting an extension of any policy provisions or other requirements that that impose a time limit for an insured or claimant to perform any act. The bulletin is addressed to all companies and other entities licensed to transact insurance business in the state who issue or deliver P&C insurance policies and does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Surplus Line Association of Illinois set up a webpage listing their COVID-19 Response Measures indicating that they would implement a temporary, automatic grace period for stamping fee payments due in March and April. The association will reevaluate and likely consider an extension in mid-April. when the grace period expires, delinquent payments will be expected to be remitted within a reasonable time frame. Fire marshal tax statements are still due on March 31, 2020.
The Department of Insurance issued Bulletin 254 on May 7, extending the moratorium provisions of Bulletin 252 from May 18 to May 31. The bulletins expired on May 31, 2020.
The Department of Insurance issued Bulletin 253 on April 21, requesting that medical malpractice insurers in Indiana extend coverage for temporary healthcare facilities which may be established in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and pursuant to Executive Order 20-13. The Department also recommends that these temporary healthcare facilities be associated with, and operate under, a primary hospital which, for the purposes of the process classification framework, will provide liability insurance coverage and PCF qualification under the Medical Malpractice Act, Ind. Code 34-18-1-1 et seq. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Department of Insurance issued Bulletin 252 on March 26, requesting all insurance companies and HMOs in Indiana to institute a moratorium on policy cancellations and non-renewals of any insurance policy in effect for a policyholder in Indiana to allow a grace period for any policyholder in Indiana for a period of 60-days for any premium payment due from March 19, 2020 to May 18, 2020. The bulletin indicates that the moratorium is not a waiver and that it is only an extension that applies to cancellation and nonrenewal attributed to failing to pay premiums during the 60-day period. The bulletin also indicates that the DOI will modify its own internal policies by implementing a 60-day grace period relating to renewals and cancellations for all licensees, certificate holders, and registrants. This includes premium tax and surplus lines premium tax filings.
The Department of Insurance issued a News Release on March 14, indicating that insurance companies cannot cancel coverage without filing an endorsement change in the terms of the policy with the Department. The release specifically references commercial liability insurers that provide coverage for services such as childcare and meals to the community. The release does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Insurance Department issued Bulletin 20-03 indicating it has executed its plan for sustained operational excellence and that all consumer protection, financial regulation, product review and licensing operations are functional.
The Insurance Department issued a COVID-19 FAQ indicating that the Commissioner does not have the authority to mandate a moratorium on policy cancellations due to non-payment of premium. Consumers are encouraged to work directly with their insurer to explore options on payment plans, extended grace periods, etc. The FAQ also includes information for consumers indicating that business interruption policies are unlikely to cover losses related to COVID-19.
The Insurance Department issued Bulletin 2020-1 indicating that applications for producer licenses may encounter delays due to department work schedule modifications as a result of COVID-19. The department is aware that many counties are not providing fingerprinting services for licensing purposes during the coronavirus emergency. This may also cause delays in the department's ability to process licensing applications.
The Department of Insurance issued Guidance
on May 20, declaring that vacancy clauses shall be waived to the extent claims denial, policy cancellation, or policy nonrenewal would occur based solely on the insured’s business location being temporarily unoccupied because the insured complied with Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The limited waiver does not affect claims denials, cancellations, and non-renewals due to nonpayment of premium and shall remain in effect for policies affected from March 23 to July 19. The guidance is directed to insurers transacting commercial insurance in Kentucky
The Department of Insurance (DOI) issued Emergency Rule 40, effective March 12, 2020 which nullifies and voids any notice of cancellation, nonrenewal or nonreinstatement until the earlier of the expiration of the declaration of emergency by the Governor or May 12, 2020. Any such notices may be reissued after the expiration of the rule but have not been. The rule specifically includes eligible unauthorized insurers and domestic surplus lines insurers. The rule expired on May 12, 2020.
The Bureau of Insurance issued Bulletin 448 on May 11, directed to insurers that use credit information in underwriting or rating personal insurance policies to encourage insurers to work with their customers whose credit has been affected by the pandemic and to remind insurers of their obligations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act where consumers have frozen their credit records. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Bureau of Insurance issued Bulletin 444 on April 15, which encourages insurers to allow policyholders to self-audit and self-report changes in their exposure or risk profile and adjust premiums accordingly. For policies that are subject to audit, insurers are encouraged to allow self-auditing and self-reporting in lieu of physical audits to the extent that physical audits are impracticable. The bulletin is directed to property casualty insurers, producers with property or casualty authority, surplus lines insurers, and surplus lines brokers.
The Bureau of Insurance issued Bulletin 443 on April 7, indicating that no admitted or surplus lines insurer may use COVID19 as a reason to attempt to narrow or cancel the coverage of a policy already in effect. Any such attempt will be considered a violation of Maine’s Trade Practices and Frauds law. The emerging threat of COVID-19 may not be treated as a “substantial change in the risk” justifying policy termination or unilateral policy modification when the exposure to COVID-19 is coincidental to risks that the policy already covers.
The Bureau of Insurance issued Bulletin 442 indicating that the impact of COVID-19 is not limited to health insurers and that carriers must prioritize consumers’ needs, must make every effort to expedite claims approvals and payments and other essential customer service functions, and must make all reasonable accommodations for late payments and other problems that are beyond the consumer’s control. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Insurance Administration issued BULLETIN No. 20-20 on April 13, stating that all insurers writing commercial policies with underwriting factors that may be affected by COVID-19, such as estimated payroll or revenues, should work with producers to accommodate policyholder requests for mid-term revisions to premium based on COVID-19 related changes in payroll or revenue rather than waiting for actual payroll/revenue results at the close of a policy period. The bulletin also requests that insurers utilizing credit for underwriting take into consideration the unforeseeable economic impact of COVID-19. In WSIA's discussions with the Commissioner, he indicated that he expects the surplus lines industry to thoughtfully accommodate Maryland policyholders in similar fashion with his expectations of the admitted market
The Insurance Administration issued BULLETIN No. 20-17 on April 3, requesting insurers to be lenient in the application of policy language that requires the insured to provide notice of a claim promptly and other similar considerations. The bulletin is addressed to all property and casualty insurance companies and producers and does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Insurance Administration issued BULLETIN no. 20-12 on March 23 and subsequent advisory on April 3 that encourages all Property & Casualty insurers to consider making rate filings that provide temporary relief to insureds during this emergency and to file a rate modification with the Administration as soon as possible.
The Insurance Administration issued BULLETIN No. 20-10 on March 30, which encourages all insurers to make reasonable accommodations so that individuals and businesses do not lose coverage due to non-payment of premiums during the COVID-19 state of emergency. Reasonable accommodations may include suspension of premiums due, extension of billing due dates and premium grace periods, and waiver of installment and late payment fees. The bulletin is applicable to P&C carriers and does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
Governor Larry Hogan issued Executive Order 20-03-30-04 authorizing temporary remote notarizations until the termination of the state of emergency.
The Insurance Administration issued an advisory on business interruption coverage indicating that business interruption policies usually have exclusions for global pandemics like COVID-19.
The Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-17 on May 18, advising insurers to take steps to be flexible with accounts regarding vacancy limitations in policies issued to those businesses not deemed "essential" under emergency orders and which have not been allowed to operate. When counting days that a property is vacant, exclude days that the property is vacant due to emergency orders, provided that the property is properly secured according to the terms of the coverage on those days. The time frame is unclear, but offices and businesses are permitted to reopen with certain restrictions on June 1 in Boston and May 25 in the rest of Massachusetts. The bulletin is directed to all P&C carriers offering coverage in Massachusetts.
The Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-08 on March 27, asking that all medical malpractice carriers review their coverage forms to ensure that such coverage provides flexibility where needed to ensure that existing coverage will apply to health care professionals who are acting within the scope of their license when they respond to the public health crisis. The bulletin is addressed to, among others, surplus lines carriers offering medical malpractice coverage in the state.
The Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-05 on March 23, advising carriers to provide employers and individuals as much flexibility as is reasonably possible to maintain their existing coverage despite difficulties making timely payment of premiums. The bulletin says that insurers should consider cancellation or nonrenewal of policies only after exhausting other efforts to work with policyholder to continue coverage. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) issued Bulletin 2020-16-INS on April 13, strongly encouraging insurers to provide their insureds with at least a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums so that insurance policies are not cancelled for nonpayment of premium. The bulletin is directed to all insurers doing business in Michigan, regardless of the line of coverage, but does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
DIFS issued Bulletin 2020-12-INS indicating that businesses in the insurance industry must take aggressive steps to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
The Commerce Department issued a press release on April 30, encouraging insurers to waive or discount premiums for coverages that can be used to a limited extent, if at all, while work from home is necessary or required, to review all eligibility criteria for discounts, to provide flexibility for insureds who may be temporarily modifying their business operations or personal lives to accommodate social distancing and to ensure that additional flexibilities offered at this time, do not harm the consumer when they renew coverage. The press release indicated that the request was made in a letter sent to property and casualty carriers but did not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Department of Insurance (DOI)issued Bulletin 20-10 on May 7, extending the moratorium provisions of Bulletin 20-05 until June 15.
The DCI issued BULLETIN 2020-3 and FAQ on March 25, that issues a 60-day moratorium on the cancellation/non-renewal of policies for the non-payment of premiums, effective March 24, 2020. The Department also issued BULLETIN 2020-4 as a clarification to the previous bulletin indicating that insurers may issue cancellation/non-renewal notices for non-payment of premiums during the sixty (60) day moratorium period. When such notices are issued during the 60-day moratorium, notice periods required by statute or the policy may begin to run, but in no event may a cancellation/non-renewal for non-payment be effective until after the sixty (60) day moratorium period expires. This moratorium shall apply to all policies issued or issued for delivery in this State. The moratorium expired on May 23, 2020.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) issued Bulletin 20-06 indicating to all domestic insurers, including domestic surplus lines insurers, that all annual statement supplemental filings due on April 1, 2020 will be considered officially filed with the DCI when filed electronically with the NAIC. For 2020, any requirements to send signed hard copies of annual statement supplemental filings to the department are optional. For all other filings normally filed via mail with the DCI, Division of Insurance Company Regulation, including but not limited to holding company filings (Forms B, C, D, F), and dividend or surplus note payment requests, such filings should be made electronically with an electronic signature in lieu of a signed hard copy while this bulletin is in effect.
The DCI issued Bulletin 20-05 on March 21, strongly encouraging that coverage for residents of the State of Missouri should continue under all insurance policies in effect as of March 13, 2020, and shall remain in effect until such time as Executive Order 20-04 is terminated or this bulletin is rescinded, whichever is later. Insurers are strongly encouraged not to cancel, nonrenew, or terminate coverage while this Bulletin is in effect. The DCI is not requiring insurers to waive any premiums or other consideration owed on any policy or contract during this period of time and anticipates that a failure to pay premiums or remit consideration may subject the policy to a retroactive cancellation, in accordance with the policy terms.
Governor Parson has issued Executive Order 20-04 that authorizes state agencies to waive or suspend certain operations. The order authorizes the Department of Commerce and Insurance to temporarily waive or suspend the operation of any statutory requirement or administrative rule, upon approval of the Office of the Governor, in order to best serve public health and safety during the period of the emergency and subsequent recovery period.
The Commissioner of Insurance and Securities sent a Commissioner’s Letter on March 26, recommending flexible payment solutions, suspending premium billing for small businesses, waiving late fees, pausing cancellation for auto coverage and streamlining administrative processes and paperwork. The letter was sent to all insurance companies across all lines of business, licensed producer, independent adjusters and other interested parties and did not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Department of Insurance issued a Notice on March 27, clarifying that if an insurer administers accommodations on a consistent and fair basis, the Nebraska Department of Insurance does not consider them to be violations of the Nebraska Unfair Trade Practices Act, the Nebraska Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act nor associated regulations.
The Division of Insurance issued a Statement on March 30, encouraging P&C carriers for both personal and commercial lines of consumers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak to consider providing an extended grace period before cancellation of coverage, providing flexibility with due dates for premiums, waiving late fees and penalties, payment plans for premiums to avoid a lapse in coverage and only cancel or non-renew if all other efforts are exhausted. The division will also support virtual inspections of property, use of electronic means for conducting inspections or audits and increased use of electronic delivery for consumer notifications and interactions. The statement does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The New Jersey Department of Insurance and Banking (DOBI) issued BULLETIN NO. 20-22 on May 12, ordering all licensed, admitted and surplus lines insurers to make an initial premium refund or other adjustment to all adversely-impacted policyholders by June 15 and for each month that the public health emergency is in effect. DOBI has acknowledged that it does not have legal authority to enforce the bulletin with respect to surplus lines insurers and confirmed it will not seek to do so. However, DOBI is requesting and hoping that surplus lines insurers will issue premium refunds where appropriate and expressly included surplus lines insurers in the bulletin so that surplus lines insurers will seriously and carefully consider the directives. Furthermore, DOBI has confirmed it will not enforce the May 19 deadline for the first claims report and does not expect a comprehensive report by the June 1 deadline. Rather, DOBI is hoping that reports demonstrate the insurer’s approach, analysis and thoughtfulness on premium adjustments. DOBI is also considering other modifications to the timing of the directive which currently requires insurers to make initial determinations and notify policyholders of their decisions by June 15.
DOBI issued BULLETIN NO. 20-15 to accompany the Governor’s issued Executive Order No. 123 indicating that P&C insurers shall not cancel during the emergency grace period any policy or contract as a result of nonpayment for a period of at least 90 days, during which period claims shall be paid without regard to prior nonpayment of premium by the policyholder. The bulletin indicates that it is not intended to change the terms of the issued policy or be considered a forgiveness of the premium. Rather, it is intended that the insurer grant the policyholder an extended grace period for the payment of premium due without penalty or interest. WSIA and the NJSLA sought clarification from the NJDOBI regarding its applicability to surplus lines insurers. DOBI acknowledged that it does not directly regulate surplus lines insurers but that it is their hope that the insurers would voluntarily work with its policyholders the same as the admitted market has been directed. Additionally, Bulletin No. 20-17 and accompanying FAQ provide guidance regarding the moratorium as it relates to premium finance companies.
DOBI issued BULLETIN No. 20-04 on March 19, encouraging all insurers and insurance producers and any other person or entity subject to licensure or regulation by DOBI to relax due dates for premium payments and insurance policy based loan payments, extend grace periods, waive late fees and penalties, allow forbearance with regard to the cancellation/non-renewal of policies, allow payment plans for premium payments, extend timeframes to complete property and automobile inspections or undergo medical exams, and exercise judicious efforts to assist affected policyholders and work with them to make sure that their insurance policies do not lapse. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted insurers
The Office of Superintendent of Insurance (OSI) issued a press release on May 13, highlighting credit protections during the pandemic and noting the protections available to consumer for auto and homeowners insurance.
OSI issued Docket No. 25-00025-COMP-PC on April 21 and a clarifying Notice on May 6 ordering private passenger and commercial auto insurers to determine if rates and premiums for auto insurance products covering risks in New Mexico should be readjusted considering the reduced automobile usage resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency and to return the excess premiums to the impacted policyholders. The notice indicates refunds should be made directly, and not as credits to future billings except in circumstances where a policyholder has a premium due and payable for coverage under an existing policy. Neither the Docket nor the Notice distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The OSI issued Bulletin 2020-011 on April 29, encouraging insurers to conduct midterm premium audits if requested by policyholders and allow policyholders to self-audit and report changes in the auditable exposure the company. The bulletin is directed to all insurance including Lloyd's plans and other insurers writing P&C insurance in New Mexico that are calculated using an auditable exposure which may have changed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The OSI issued Bulletin 2020-006 requesting that all insurance companies refrain from cancelling or non-renewing policies of businesses and individuals negatively impacted by the disruption due to the non-payment of premiums during this public health emergency, or at a minimum, provide extended grace periods for payment of premiums. OSI encourages implementing these practices as soon as possible and consider extending them for a minimum of 30 days after the emergency is declared over. The bulletin also requests that insurers work with their insureds after the public health emergency to allow the insureds to catch up on past due premiums with installment payments. Finally, the bulletin requests that all insurance agents, brokers and other licensees who accept premium payments on behalf of insurers take steps to ensure that customers have the ability to make alternate payments, such as online payments, to protect the safety of workers and customers.
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.13 on March 29, imposing a moratorium until June 28 on insurance policy cancellations, nonrenewals and late payment penalties for individual and small business insureds (100 employees or less) who can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Property/Casualty Emergency Regulation FAQs, released by the Department of Financial Services on April 21, indicate that the moratorium is applicable to all personal lines E&S policies AND all commercial lines E&S fire policies. A previous iteration of the FAQ, released on April 9, did not indicate that commercial E&S fire policies were subject to the moratorium. WSIA and ELANY are working to get additional guidance on the impact of the revision in the FAQs. A prior Attorney General Opinion discusses application of the underlying cancellation and nonrenewal statute to fire insurance policies.
In an effort to clarify the parameters of the moratorium, the Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) released BULLETIN 2020-24 on May 12 and BULLETIN 2020-18 on April 21. BULLETIN 2020-24 indicates that notices of cancellation may be issued but that the insured has the right to assert hardship, gives guidance on the permissible effective dates of cancellations and provides guidance on the expiration of the moratorium. The enacting Executive Order expires on June 6 however the Emergency Regulation was filed with a June 28 expiration date; therefore, insureds may claim a COVID-19 financial hardship at least through June 6. BULLETIN 2020-18 noted the change in DFS position that the moratorium applies to commercial E&S fire policies and BULLETIN 2020-17 on April 9 which provides guidance in a number of areas including, how to determine if an insured is eligible for the moratorium, notices to policyholders, process for deferring premium payments, applicability to premium finance companies and other topics.
ELANY issued Bulletin No. 2020-15 on March 30, 2020 indicating that late filing fees for the months of March and April will be waived and offering some suggestions for obtaining appropriate documentation when working from home.
ELANY issued Bulletin No. 2020-14 indicating that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) is informing licensees whose licenses are expiring that the online licensing system will allow them to renew their licenses without the required CE credits, however licensees are expected to make up necessary CE credits within a reasonable time period after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
ELANY issued Bulletin No. 2020-13 indicating its staff is working from home until further notice due to COVID-19. ELANY expects this to have minimal impact on workflow and they will continue processing filing, answering questions and issuing guidance to brokers and the excess line community. ELANY will continue to receive USPS mail, although rerouting may slow it down. NO deliveries by messengers, private courier services, such as FedEx or UPS, will be accepted at ELANY’S office while operations are on a work-from-home-basis.
DFS issued Circular Letter No. 2020-7 urging regulated entities to offer payment accommodations, work to avoid cancellation and nonrenewal issues, increase resources to accommodate claims issues, prepare clear and concise description of coverage benefits triggered by COVID-19, alert consumers to the heightened risks of scams and price gouging, and to ensure that consumers do not experience a disruption of service if regulated entities close their offices.
DFS also issued Circular Letter No. 2020-5 requiring each regulated entity to submit a response to DFS describing its plans of preparedness to manage the risk of disruption to its operations and the financial risk arising from COVID-19. Responses are to be provided to DFS as soon as possible and in no event later than thirty (30) days from the issuance of the March 10 letter. The requirement to submit a preparedness plan applies to all domestic and foreign insurers authorized to do business in New York, as well as a few producers that were directly notified of the requirement to submit a preparedness plan by DFS.
The Department of Insurance (DOI) issued BULLETIN Number 20-B-07 and an EXTENDED ORDER on April 21, indicating that the provisions of BULLETIN Number 20-B-06, the initial order and the associated stay of proof of loss requirements and premium and debt deferrals, will be extended 30 days from the new effective date of April 27, 2020. The order and bulletin expired on May 27, 2020.
The DOI issued a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions associated with BULLETIN Number 20-B-06 and BULLETIN Number 20-B-07 that clarify issues related to cancellation and nonrenewal notices and applicability to surplus lines insurance. Cancellations issued for non-payment, prior to or on the date of the Order, cannot be processed as the consumer has the ability to perform an action on their policy. Cancellations issued for non-payment, after the Order, cannot be issued and should be deferred. Non-renewals issued prior to or on the date of the Order, may be processed and terminated on the date specified in the notice. Non-renewals issued after the date of the Order may not be transmitted and should be deferred. The bulletin also indicates that the statute provides an automatic deferral on policy cancellation regardless of the reason, including material misrepresentation.
The DOI issued BULLETIN Number 20-B-06 and an amended Order that activates the state of disaster automatic stay of proof of loss requirements, and premium and debt deferrals as authorized under the provisions of NCGS 58-2-46 for residents of all 100 counties in North Carolina. The bulletin is effective for 30 days from March 27, 2020 and is applicable to surplus lines insurers.
The DOI also issued a press release asking the state’s insurance industry to consider relaxing due dates for premiums payments, extending grace periods, waiving late fees and penalties, allowing payment plans for premiums payments to otherwise avoid a lapse in coverage and to consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting other efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage. In addition, Commissioner Causey is requesting that all insurance agents, brokers, and other licensees who accept premium payments on behalf of insurers take steps to ensure that customers are able to make premium payments in safe manner. This should include online payments or other alternative methods to eliminate the need for in-person payment options to protect the safety of workers and customers.
The Insurance Department issued BULLETIN 2020-8 on March 30, urging all North Dakota insurers, producers, adjusters, and other persons licensed and authorized to transact business in North Dakota to provide flexibility and possible relief from certain insurance requirements to consumers and businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. That relief may include, but is not limited to, extension of premium deadlines, extension of grace periods, additional time before non-renewals or cancellations become effective, waiver of fees, penalties or other charges and development of payment plan options. The bulletin indicates that any relief offered to consumers will not be considered unfairly discriminatory or a rebate if the relief is focused on providing additional customer protections and is reasonably applied to all insureds impacted by the public health crisis. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Department of Insurance (DOI) issued BULLETIN 2020-07 on March 30, ordering insurers to provide their insureds with at least a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums so that insurance policies are not canceled for nonpayment of premium during the state of emergency. This means insurers should offer payment accommodations, such as allowing consumers to defer payments at no cost, extending payment due dates, or waiving late or reinstatement fees, where consumers are unable to make timely payments of premium or fees due to COVID-19-related disruptions. Nothing in the bulletin should be construed as prohibiting an insurer from cancelling or nonrenewing a policy for any lawful reason other than nonpayment of premium. The bulletin expires upon the expiration of the state of emergency declared by Governor DeWine on March 9, 2020 and pertains to all insurers providing property and casualty, life, and long-term care insurance policies (“policies”) in the State of Ohio.
The DOI issued BULLETIN 2020-06 notifying insurers that they must not cancel, non-renew, or refuse to issue a policy of automobile insurance, or deny a claim, solely because the driver license of a named insured or other covered family member has expired since the Governor’s declaration of emergency. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted insurers and expires thirty days after the expiration of the state of emergency declared by Governor DeWine on March 9, 2020.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID) issued PC Bulletin No. 2020-03 on April 27, permitting all commercial insureds with an auditable exposure basis the right to make a demand upon its admitted insurer to permit the insured to immediately conduct a one-time, mid-term self-audit of the insurance policy. The bulletin is only applicable to admitted insurance policies.
The OID issued PC Bulletin No. 2020-01 (amended) on April 6, that directs all property and casualty carriers providing coverage to Oklahoma residents to continually assess their internal readiness, inform insureds of available benefits, extend any grace period for nonpayment of premium by 45 days and suspend all claims deadlines for the duration of the emergency declaration and all policyholder rights or benefits related to deadlines until 90 days after the state of emergency ends. This grace period extension does not relieve an insured of the obligation to pay premiums but merely is a deferral of the payment due date. This provision is also applicable to premium financing arrangements. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Division of Financial Regulation issued a temporary emergency Order on March 25, Extension on April 23 and Extension on May 24 and associated FAQ, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The extension is effective until May 23 and it requires all insurance companies to extend grace periods for premium payments, postpone policy cancellations and nonrenewals, and extend deadlines for reporting claims. For insurance policies in the state not yet cancelled or non-renewed as of the date of this Order, but for which a notice of cancellation or non-renewal has been issued, insurers must withdraw the issued notice and provide insureds with a notice that cancellation and non-renewal is suspended until this Order is no longer in effect. At the request of DFR, the Oregon Surplus Lines Association forwarded a copy of their March 25, 2020, order to all of the licensees of the Oregon Surplus Line Association. The Division encourages all nonadmitted insurers to follow the same actions required of the admitted insurers in the Order.
The Division issued a Memorandum saying that, consistent with ORS 731.482, insurance companies may not withdraw from, fail to renew, or cancel any commercial liability line of insurance or class of business, such as a child care facility, without supplying appropriate written justification and approval by the Director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. Child care facilities that comply with Executive Order 20-12 and follow the requirements for caring for children are not considered an increased hazard under ORS 731.482(1)(d), and an insurer cannot cancel or non-renew a liability policy for a child care facility. The memorandum is addressed to all admitted and nonadmitted commercial liability insurers.
The Department of Insurance issued Notice 2020-04 on March 19, encouraging insurers to relax due dates for premium payments, extend grace periods, waive late fees and penalties and allow payment plans for premium payments to otherwise avoid lapse in coverage. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies issued FAQs regarding the legislature’s agreement that it would be untenable to retroactively require carriers to cover claims the policy specifically excludes.
The Insurance Division issued Bulletin 2020-4 on March 25, requesting that insurers writing business in Rhode Island provide as much flexibility as possible to allow insureds to maintain their existing coverage by implementing and extending grace periods for premium payments, allowing payment plans for premium payments and instituting whatever other measures necessary to assist insureds in avoiding or delaying cancellation or a lapse of insurance coverage. The bulletin also requests that insurers institute alternative methods of payment, additional flexibility in the form of waivers of late, insufficient funds, and installment fees and penalties, extend billing due dates and premium grace periods and explore ways to streamline or delay submission of administrative paperwork that may jeopardize the maintenance and issuance of coverage. None of these requests are intended to change the terms of in force insurance policies or be considered a forgiveness of premium. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted insurers.
The Insurance Division issued Bulletin 2020-3 which extends the expiration date for certain insurance licensing, including surplus lines brokers, from March 31 to April 30 in accordance with the governor’s executive orders and social distancing protocols. In-person licensing exams will be suspended until April 30.
The Department of Insurance (DOI) issued BULLETIN NUMBER 2020-02 indicating that the Director of Insurance expects the insurance industry to work with South Carolina citizens and businesses directly impacted to provide relief from certain insurance requirements. The list of reliefs offered by the DOI includes, but is not limited to, extension of premium payment deadlines, additional time before non-renewals or cancellations become effective, extension of proof of loss deadlines and waiver of fees, penalties or other charges relating to an insured’s temporary inability to submit premium payments or otherwise respond as a result of the pandemic. The bulletin is directed to all insurers, adjusters, producers and other persons licensed and authorized to transact business.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance issued BULLETIN 20-05 on April 3, which encourages premium finance companies, to the greatest extent possible, to accommodate insureds by extending or providing grace periods for loan payments or to be otherwise flexible with respect to determinations of default under premium finance agreements. The bulletin is addressed to premium finance companies and insurance carriers and does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance issued BULLETIN 20-03 on March 24, requesting carriers provide employers and individuals with as much flexibility as practicable during the period of the COVID-19 public health crisis. Carriers should work with policy holders who have concerns about their ability to timely pay premium to ensure that policy holders can maintain their existing insurance coverage. Carriers across all lines of business, upon request or upon calls about coverage, should explain to consumers affected by COVID19 options to maintain continuous coverage during this difficult time. Carriers should explain existing applicable grace periods that may allow policyholders to delay premium payments without losing coverage. Additionally, carriers should explore ways to eliminate late fees, non-sufficient funds fees, and installment fees. Carriers should also work with employers or individuals to find the best ways to address concerns with the timing of premium payments in order to delay any cancellation of coverage for non-payment and collection activity. Finally, carriers should explore ways to streamline administrative processes and paperwork to facilitate continuous coverage and ease burdens on policy holders. The bulletin is addressed to carriers writing insurance coverage in Tennessee and does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) issued Bulletin #B-0020-20 on April 15, encouraging insurers to conduct midterm premium audits if requested by commercial policyholders with reduced operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many policies allow midterm audits and do not require an onsite audit. They also encourage insurers to allow policyholders to self-audit and report changes in the auditable exposure the company used to calculate the premium and consider any reduced risk for businesses that change operations or elect to continue paying employees when they are not working. Finally, they ask insurers to make other adjustments to reduce the premium as appropriate. According to the Texas Surplus Lines Association, the bulletin is a recommendation that does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted.
TDI issued Bulletin #B-0007-20 on March 23, encouraging carriers to use grace periods for payments, temporary suspension of premium payments, payment plans, and other actions to allow continuing insurance coverage as appropriate. TDI will work with carriers to minimize the regulatory effects of an insurer’s actions to provide policyholder relief, specifically for financial review requirements. The term “suspension” is not intended to mean the forgiveness of the premium. The bulletin is directed to, among others, Lloyds, other insurers writing property and casualty insurance in the state of Texas, including workers’ compensation insurance; agents and representative; adjusters; premium finance companies; and other relevant parties.
The Surplus Lines Stamping Office of Texas (SLTX) issued a news release indicating that they are instituting a work-from-home-policy for staff members that will continue until deemed appropriate but they will continue performing all duties and responsibilities as required. SLTX also encourages any surplus lines brokers who typically complete filing and payment processes by mail to use electronic means.
The Department of Financial Regulation issued Guidance to lines of insurance affecting businesses that encourages insurance carriers to be flexible with premium payment plans and premium deposit requirements for businesses that are temporarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation actions. The guidance does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
The Bureau of Insurance issued a communication on May 11, encouraging insurers that write replacement cost coverage on dwellings and buildings to consider, consistent with prudent insurance practices, to relax requirements for insureds to make their replacement cost claims after ACV payments are made. The communication is directed to all insurers licensed to write property and casualty insurance in Virginia with replacement cost coverage on dwellings and buildings.
The Bureau of Insurance issued a communication on March 27 strongly encouraging insurers and other licensees to consider relaxing due dates for premium payments, extending grace periods, waiving late fees and penalties, and allowing payment plans for premium payments to otherwise avoid a lapse in coverage. The communication also encourages insurers to consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting all other reasonable efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage. The communication is addressed to, among others: Lloyd’s, other insurers writing property and casualty insurance, managing general agents, premium finance companies and other regulated entities.
The State Corporation Commissioner issued a notice stating that Virginia insurance licensing examination test centers are being closed on a case-by-case basis. The Virginia Bureau of Insurance extended the timeframe for applicants to submit required documentation from 30 days to 90 days. Application processing may exceed 15 business days.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner issued answers to a series of Frequently Asked Questions to the emergency order that clarifies that excess & surplus line companies and brokers are bound to Part A of the order, which requires grace periods and waiving otherwise applicable charges and fees associated with nonpayment of premium, such as late fees and reinstatement fees, for the duration of the order. The FAQs also conclude that, if the cancellation notice was issued prior to the effective date of Emergency Order 20-03, but the cancellation date falls within order’s 45-day time period, the insurance company shall not cancel the policy for nonpayment of premium during the order’s duration, unless directed to by the insured.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner issued EMERGENCY ORDER NO. 20-03 on March 25, all Regulated Entities transacting any property and casualty insurance business shall provide grace periods for nonpayment of premium and shall waive otherwise applicable charges and fees associated with nonpayment of premium, such as late fees and reinstatement fees. The order also states that no property and casualty insurer shall cancel a policy issued for nonpayment of premium, unless specifically directed to do so by the insured. The order will remain in effect between March 25, 2020, and May 9, 2020 and is addressed to all insurers, insurance producers, surplus line brokers, and other entities regulated by the Insurance Commissioner. The order expired on May 9, 2020.
The Washington Surplus Lines Association issued an alert stating: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Surplus Line Association of Washington is taking precautionary measures at our office. Employees will be working remotely but there should be no disruption in service. Also, the Annual Meeting and SLB License Exam Prep Class have been cancelled and will be re-scheduled.
The Offices of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) issued BULLETIN No. 20-11 on May 4, with guidance on regarding how insurers should handle premium taxes and surcharges. It is the OIC’s general position that any premium tax or surcharge assessed against the portion of an insurance premium that is refunded should also be refunded to the policyholder. The bulletin contains additional guidance on how to handle premium taxes for insurers that are granted or offered premium forbearance.
The OIC issued BULLETIN No. 20-07 on March 26, stating that an insurer must not issue cancellation notice or nonrenewal notice pertaining to any insurance policy, plan or contract if the reason for cancellation or nonrenewal is a result of adverse circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding State of Emergency issued by the Governor of West Virginia on March 16, 2020, or any subsequent governmental orders. Emergency Order 20-02 is not meant to prohibit the cancellation or nonrenewal of all insurance policies and does not apply to insureds or policyholders who were already delinquent or who were or are cancelled/nonrenewed for other valid underwriting reasons. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.
OIC issued BULLETIN No. 20-06 stating that the Commissioner will issue a temporary producer license to applicants, on a case-by-case basis, without requiring testing or fingerprinting, where it is determined that applicants are unable to complete the requisite testing or obtain fingerprinting due to third-party vendor operations suspensions or closures. Temporary licenses will be issued for a period of up to 180 days and will be subject to being sooner rescinded depending upon the duration of the current insurance emergency.
OIC issued BULLETIN No. 20-04 requesting assurance that all insurers have continuity of operations and preparedness plans to address any operational risks, and that they are identifying, monitoring and managing the financial risk posed by the COVID-19 crisis within 20 days of the release of the bulletin. The request is issued to every foreign insurer currently issuing policies in the state and does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted insurers.
The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) issued a bulletin encouraging insurers to offer flexibility to insureds that includes offering non-cancellation periods, deferred premium payments, premium holidays and acceleration or waiver of underwriting requirements. OCI will not view any accommodations made to insureds incurring economic hardship during the COVID-19 public health emergency as violating insurance laws such as unfair inducement prohibitions. The bulletin also reminds companies that they should contact the OCI to discuss alternative arrangements if they believe they will not be able to meet any filing deadlines. The bulletin does not distinguish between admitted and nonadmitted business.