State COVID-19 Bulletins
A number of states have issued notices or bulletins that request or require accommodations for insureds during the COVID-19 crisis and, in some cases, make accommodations for regulatory requirements that apply to surplus lines brokers, nonadmitted carriers or both. This is a summary of those statements compiled by WSIA as of 4-4-20. Learn more about WSIA policy positions on state and federal COVID-19-related legislative and regulatory advocacy here.
On March 25, the NAIC issued a statement on Congressional Action Relating to COVID-19 that stated:
Business interruption policies were generally not designed or priced to provide coverage against communicable diseases, such as COVID-19 and therefore include exclusions for that risk. Insurance works well and remains affordable when a relatively small number of claims are spread across a broader group, and therefore it is not typically well suited for a global pandemic where virtually every policyholder suffers significant losses at the same time for an extended period. While the U.S. insurance sector remains strong, if insurance companies are required to cover such claims, such an action would create substantial solvency risks for the sector, significantly undermine the ability of insurers to pay other types of claims, and potentially exacerbate the negative financial and economic impacts the country is currently experiencing.
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. 2020-05 on March 30, recommending recommends 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 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.
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 such time as Executive Order 20-03 expires. 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 Department of Insurance 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 April 8, 2020, and they will remain fully functional during normal business hours.
Commissioner Ricardo Lara 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-5.38 on March 27, which directs 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.
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 Department of Insurance issued on 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. 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 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-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 2020-3I 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 Surplus Line Association of Illinois set up a webpage listing their COVID-19 Response Measures indicating that they would implement a temporary, automatic 30-day grace period for stamping fee payments. The association will reevaluate and consider an extension in mid-April. Fire marshal tax statements are still due on March 31, 2020.
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 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 (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. The rule specifically includes eligible unauthorized insurers and domestic surplus lines insurers
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. 20-17 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.
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 2020-08 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 2020-12-INS indicating that businesses in the insurance industry must take aggressive steps to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
The Department of Insurance (DOI) issued BULLETIN 2020-3 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 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 Department of Banking and Insurance (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 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.
The Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) issued BULLETIN 2020-17 on April 3, with clarifications to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Emergency Regulation that will remain in effect until June 28 2020. THE DFS HAS INFORMED ELANY THAT THE MORATORIUM DOES NOT APPLY TO EXCESS LINE COMMERCIAL POLICIES AND POLICYHOLDERS. The bulletin also states that the executive order and emergency regulation applies to individuals and small businesses, which are defined as New York resident owner-operated businesses with 100 employees or less, that claim financial hardship arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and are policyholders with specified coverage. Insureds are permitted to self-certify financial hardship. The moratorium, premium payment deferral provisions, and notice requirements do not apply to any commercial insureds that fall outside this criteria. Also, insureds retain the absolute right to cancel policies of their own volition. The bulletin also clarifies that producers who procured the insurance policy for an individual or small business are responsible for the required notice to policyholders by April 13 (not April 9 as was included in Bulletin 2020-16). This means that the retail broker is responsible for the notice however, the regulation requires insurers, including excess line insurers, to notify policyholders about the regulation with each premium bill, and provide a toll-free number which policyholders may call to discuss billing and alternative arrangements. The bulletin includes additional information about deferred premium payments, premium finance companies and other topics
Governor Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.13 on March 29 imposing a moratorium on insurance policy cancellations, nonrenewals and late payment penalties under certain circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DFS promulgated an Emergency Regulation on March 30 stating specific requirements and the Excess Line Association of New York (ELANY) issued Bulletin No. 2020-16 to clarify the guidance for excess line brokers. The order places a moratorium on insurers cancelling, non-renewing, or conditionally renewing any insurance policy issued to an individual or small business for a period of 60 days (March 29 to May 28) for any policyholder facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency regulation expressly applies to excess line insurers and the ELANY bulletin contains additional instructions for insurers and producers that are relevant for nonadmitted policies.
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 a series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions associated with BULLETIN Number 20-B-06 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 Division of Financial Regulation issued a temporary emergency Order on March 25 in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 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 20-03 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-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 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 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. 20-07 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.