Many state regulators have made announcements or have required certain responses to inquiries concerning the novel coronavirus COVID-19. In order to keep members up to date, we will post such information to this web page as we learn of it along with some analysis for our perspective. The relevant documents are hyperlinked to the state name in the table where available.
We are aware that some member companies have been directly contacted by regulators with information relevant to COVID-19. Please let us know if you have additional material or information we can share with the associations.
The NAICs Coronavirus Resource Center is also another valuable resource for our members.
COVID-19 Regulatory Promulgations. Last updated: Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM
We only reviewed the publicly available information disseminated through the websites of state service contract regulators. We did not review any executive orders to which you and/or your business may be subject. If you are aware of bulletins that were not captured in this chart that have an impact on the service contract industry, please let us know. You can forward materials to Mark@meenanlawfirm.com.
|State||Relevant Provisions from the Applicable Memoranda, Bulletins, Etc.||Analysis and/or Conclusions|
|Alabama||Due to the current COVID-19 emergency status, the Alabama Department of Insurance (“ALDOI”) hereby issues the following information and directives regarding issues in the Producer Licensing Division:
Initial License Applications: Please expect initial applications for resident license to take approximately three weeks for review.
Prelicensing Certificate of Completion; Expiration Date Extended: the Certificate of Completion for any prelicensing course which expires in March or April of 2020 is hereby extended 60 days past the stated expiration date on the certificate. Please note: limitations on repeat examinations are still in effect.
Prelicensing Certificate of Completion; Notary Requirement Waived: A Prelicensing Provider whose primary contact is working from home may forego the requirement for their signature to be notarized on a Certificate if Completion issued through the end of April 2020.
Bulletin to all commercial and personal lines of insurance, including property, casualty, disability, accident and health, and life insurance policies. Commissioner of Insurance recommends insurers consider: 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 also consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting all efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage.
Bulletin also states that insurance companies, underwriters, producers (agents & brokers), related insurance claims, agency services, and related financial services are deemed essential services and operations.
|The Bulletin, issued March 25, 2020, is issued to Producer, Adjuster, and Title Insurance Agents.
The second Bulletin was issued March 30, 2020 and is addressed to insurers. The Bulletin concerns leniency with cancellation and non-renewal of policies, and it is not applicable to service contract programs since only speaks to insurers.
|Governor issued an Executive Order which applies to the Department of Insurance and other state boards and agencies which, among other items, ordered that a state agency or board that licenses individuals or entities shall: …
Defer requirements to renew licenses that have an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and September 1, 2020 by 6 months from the expiration date unless those requirements can be completed online.
Unless prohibited by federal law or regulation, if an examination cannot be provided via electronic or remote format, the state agency or board shall issue a provisional license to an applicant who has met all other requirements of Arizona statute and administrative code, but who is unable to take the required examination due to the current closure of private testing centers and unavailability of an electronic or remote testing option, under the following conditions:
1) The applicant must meet all other requirements under Arizona law;
2) A provisional license is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance;
3) A provisional license will be suspended 20 days after the in-person testing centers reopen, or the examinations otherwise become available, including in an electronic or remote format, unless the applicant passes the required examinations prior to license suspension;
The provisional license is no longer provisional and becomes a regular license pursuant to Arizona law and administrative code upon successful passage of the required examinations.
|Executive Order issued March 26, 2020. It applies to the Arizona Department of Insurance. All Department of Insurance license renewal requirements can be completed online, so service contract provider renewals must be completed on time.|
|Arkansas||In order to assist Arkansas consumers who may call the Department with issues, complaints, or questions regarding their policies should they not be able to contact their insurer through normal means, the Commissioner directs 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. Carriers should forward their consumer contact email address to email@example.com as soon as possible.
Insurers and other regulated entities must assess and review their plans of preparedness and plans for continuity of operations to manage the risk of disruption to their operations arising from COVID-19 and actively seek to mitigate the risk of harm to policyholders and claimants.
The Commissioner advises 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, and utilize all possible methods of adjusting claims remotely, such as telephone, email, facsimile, mobile applications, satellite imagery or 3D mapping, all the while striving to meet normal time frames for the adjustment and resolution of claims whenever possible.
To assist citizens who may struggle to overcome obstacles during this health emergency, the Department is hereby issuing a sixty (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.
To assist agencies and producers affected by these disruptions the Department is temporarily halting converting any individual producer’s license status from active to inactive for failure to submit their producer renewal application or renewal fees as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 23-64-507 and Arkansas Insurance Department Rule 57. If a producer fails to renew their license on or before the expiration of the Executive Order 20-03, then the license will expire as of that date. Upon expiration, individual producers will be assessed fees and penalties in order to lift the expiration pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. §§ 23-64-507(c), 23-61-401 and Arkansas Insurance Department Rule 57. Any continuing education hours required to be completed by an individual producer’s renewal date pursuant to Arkansas Insurance Department Rule 50 shall not be due until May 15, 2020.
|While the Bulletin is addressed to all admitted and surplus lines insurance carriers doing business in the state and other interested parties, the substance of the Bulletin opens up the application to insurers and other regulated entities. Thus, service contract obligors would arguably be captured.
Service contract providers need to reach out to the Arkansas Department of Insurance with an appropriate email address to field consumer contacts, review internal plans for continuity of operations, and maintain a focus on expedited claims adjudication.
The 60 day moratorium on the cancellation/non-renewal does not appear to apply to service contracts since it only speaks to insurance policies.
|California||In response to the disruption caused by the outbreak, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara is 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 during this challenging time due to circumstances beyond the control of the insured. This request is directed to all admitted and nonadmitted insurance companies that provide any insurance coverage in California including, life, health, auto, property, casualty, and other types of insurance.||The Bulletin issued by the Department of Insurance is directed at insurance companies issuing insurance coverage. Therefore, this 60 day grace period only applies to insurance coverage and not consumer goods or motor vehicle service contracts in the state.
For home protection insurers, it is likely that requirement to provide a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums may apply.
At this time, there is no specific direction from the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services.
|Connecticut||Bulletin issued by Insurance Department requests 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. Intended that the insurer grant the policyholder an extended grace period for the payment of premium due without penalty or interest.||Insurance Bulletin from March 24, 2020 60-day grace period request is directed to all admitted and non-admitted insurance companies that provide any insurance coverage in Connecticut including, life, health, auto, property, casualty and other types of insurance. Therefore, it would not apply to a service contract program in Connecticut as service contracts are not considered insurance.|
|Delaware||The Commissioner hereby requests that all admitted and non-admitted carriers doing business in Delaware suspend cancellations and nonrenewals due to nonpayment of premium during the pendency of the Governor’s declared State of Emergency. This request applies to all lines of insurance.
The Governor issued a sixth modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency that states: “No insurer may, 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 that is due during the pendency of the declared state of emergency.”
|No action necessary|
|Florida||To all entities regulated by Florida Office of Insurance Regulation: Understanding these measures may disrupt normal business operations, all companies regulated by OIR are directed to review and update their Business Continuity Plans and/or Continuity of Operation Plans immediately. The plans must provide a framework for the continuation of company operations, including key insurance functions such as policy issuance, premium collection, claims adjustment and payment and policyholder service. The continuity plans should also account for DOH and CDC guidance surrounding COVID-19, including executive orders issued at the state and national level. Companies should consider all potential impacts of COVID-19 within their continuity plan, including impacts to essential operations, key personnel, supply chain, vendors, contractors and policyholders.
If an insurer or other entity regulated by OIR activates its Business Continuity and/or Continuity of Operations Plan in response to COVID-19, the company must notify OIR within the same day.
In an informational memorandum issued on March 25, 2020, the Commissioner explained that regulated entities are encouraged, when prudently possible, to be flexible with premium payments in order to avoid a lapse in coverage. Such flexibility can include:
1. Relaxing due dates;
2. Extending grace or reinstatement periods;
3. Waiving late fees and penalties; and
4. Allowing payment plans.
Regulated entities are encouraged to only consider cancellation of policies if all possible efforts to work with consumers to continue coverage have been exhausted. Regulated entities should extensively and proactively message, to their consumers and agency partners, the avenues by which consumers and agents can communicate specific situations to regulated entities for purposes of allowing flexibility.
Regulated entities are encouraged to consider allowing certain commercial uses for personal vehicles for insureds, provided that such use is limited to the duration of the Emergency Orders.
Therefore, regulated entities, agents, consumers, and employers are 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.
In any case where handwritten statements are required from policyholders or customers, regulated entities are encouraged to accept electronic communications.
Finally, regulated entities are encouraged to use email to initially arrange teleconferences with OIR staff, as many OIR staff will be in telework arrangements and may not be accessible via their normal OIR phone number.
OIR will accept electronic signatures and electronic notarizations that comply with Chapters 668 and 117, Florida Statutes, or equivalent laws in the regulated entity’s domiciliary jurisdiction, on documents regulated entities are required to file with OIR through May 1, 2020.
|A service contract provider must review and update their Business Continuity Plans. Upon activating its Business Continuity Plan, the company must notify OIR within the same day.
Florida service warranty associations licensees should consider providing consumers with added flexibility with premium payments in order to avoid coverage lapses. Further, in any case where handwritten statements are required from policyholders or customers, such entities are encouraged to accept electronic communications.
|Georgia||For the next 60 days, all Property and Casualty Insurers shall refrain from canceling, for the cause of non-payment, any commercial policies that include business interruption or business income coverage. All non-federal filing deadlines are temporarily suspended. This suspension is not applicable to product filings.
A Bulletin issued by the Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner states that counties and municipalities that determine non-essential businesses should be closed should consider insurance services as essential business services. Although some insurance business can be handled remotely, insurance companies must have individuals on-site to complete the following core functions:
-Providing IT support for those employees working remotely
-Processing mail, to include receiving claims and other time-sensitive items
-Claims adjusting, including processing and payment of claims. Because some claims, including disability and worker’s compensation, are paid on a regular, periodic basis, and claimants are dependent on receiving timely payments
-Security for both facilities and information access.
|No action necessary|
|Hawaii||Insurance Memorandum to all admitted and non-admitted insurers offering policies in Hawaii encourages insurers to work with insureds to ensure coverage continues during this time, policies do not lapse, and to consider the following:
-Refrain from cancelling or non-renewing policies due to non-payment during this time of hardship and to grant a grace period for premium payments to be made;
-Work with insureds on a structured payment plan for late premium payments;
-Waive late fees and penalties;
-Extend timeframes to complete property and automobile inspections or undergo medical examinations;
-Continue working with insureds for a period of 60 days after this health emergency has passed, or as long as reasonably practical.
|This insurance memo is directed to all admitted and non-admitted insurers in this State providing any insurance coverage including life, health, motor vehicle, property, casualty, and other types of insurance for individuals, groups, and businesses. Therefore, it would not pull in service contract business as service contracts are not insurance.|
|Illinois||The Bulletin states that response times from the Department may be delayed. If a company must file a document, submit the information electronically whenever possible. Where electronic corporate and financial filings are not an option, in addition to normal mailing procedures, contact the assigned Department contact to determine a secure means of transmitting electronically. In addition, applications for producer and administrative licenses may encounter delays. The Department requests that all insurers adjust their internal procedures to allow Illinois consumers to transact business remotely wherever possible.||This bulletin applies to all companies, consumers, and all others having business with the Illinois Department of Insurance. As a company having business with the Illinois Department of Insurance, service contract providers should implement measures to transact business remotely, if possible.|
|Indiana||Insurance Department Bulletin requests that all insurance companies and HMOs in Indiana institute a moratorium on policy cancellations and non-renewals of any insurance policy in effect for a policyholder in Indiana for a period of 60 days. Moratorium only applies to cancellations and non-renewals attributed to a failure to pay premiums directly during the 60 day period. The Department requests insurers and HMOs to take into consideration that persons may be unable to receive notice of cancellation or non-renewal during COVID-19 emergency.
Bulletin also grants 60 day grace period relating to renewals and cancellations for all licensees, certificate holders, and registrants. Any penalties assessed due to late payment during this period will be waived.
|No action necessary|
|Iowa||Applies to all insurance companies writing in Iowa: COVID-19 has caused all insurance companies, insurance producers, and regulators to assess operations and implement business contingency plans. As the insurance companies implement business contingency plans in light of COVID-19, advise the Iowa Insurance Department if assistance is needed.||No action necessary|
|Kentucky||Executive Order from the Governor directed that the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Insurance shall temporarily waive, suspend, and/or modify the operation of any statute or administrative regulation currently in place under the purview of the Kentucky Department of Insurance in order to best serve the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare during this period.
Guidance from Department of Insurance states that insurance offices are deemed essential and are allowed to operate during the Emergency Orders. Insurers have a responsibility to service customers, adjust claims, and maintain critical technology.
|No action necessary|
|Louisiana||Emergency Rule 40 issued by Department of Insurance suspends cancellation, non-renewal and non-reinstatement by insurers, or premium finance companies acting on behalf of insurers retroactively to the start of this emergency period. Additionally, this rule clarifies that no policy can be canceled or non-renewed because of a claim that is filed during this emergency. Policies may continue to be canceled for fraud and material misrepresentation or upon written request by the consumer.
Emergency Rule 38 issued by the Department of Insurance permits an individual that has completed a Louisiana approved pre-licensing course no more than 12 months prior and who would be eligible to sit for the applicable prelicensing examination if the contracted testing centers were available to request issuance of a temporary license for the line or lines of insurance for which they have met the prelicense education requirement. After receiving confirmation of the submission of the application using nipr.com, the applicant shall submit a written request to be issued a temporary license to the Louisiana Department of Insurance by email firstname.lastname@example.org. All temporary licenses issued pursuant to this Emergency Rule shall expire on May 15, 2020 unless the term is extended by Order of the Commissioner.
|Emergency Rule 40 applies to any and all kinds of insurance set forth in R.S. 22:47, including, but not limited to, life, vehicle, liability, workers’ compensation, burglary and forgery, fidelity, title, fire and allied lines, steam boiler and sprinkler leakage, crop, marine and transportation,
miscellaneous, homeowners,’ credit life, health and accident, credit property and casualty, annuity, surety, and industrial fire. Vehicle mechanical breakdown insurance is regulated by the Department of Insurance and is arguably subject to Emergency Rule 40. VMBI is not specifically listed in R.S. 22:47, but it is in the statutory chapter governing insurance and governed by the Department of Insurance. VMBI providers should consider suspending cancellation and non-renewal due to nonpayment.
Emergency Rule 38 regarding producer licensing applies to those individuals making application for an insurance producer license for the line or lines of insurance with a pre-licensing education Requirement.
No pertinent announcements or bulletins from the Secretary of State office that governs VSCs.
|Maine||More fundamentally, enterprises of all kinds must be prepared to cope with absence or incapacity of employees, disruptions in transportation, and a range of other shortages and delays. This includes insurance companies, third-party administrators, adjusters, insurance agencies, and other licensees. As described in Bulletin 358 (issued in 2009), all insurance carriers must have effective business continuity plans in place, and be prepared to implement them. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, carriers should continually assess their readiness and be prepared to make any necessary adjustments to their operations. 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.||No action necessary|
|Maryland||In light of these difficult circumstances, I encourage all Life & Health Carriers and Property and Casualty Insurers doing business in the State to make reasonable accommodations so that individuals and businesses do not lose coverage due to non-payment of premium during this 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.
Maryland’s governor has authorized remote notarizations.
|The bulletin only applies to personal and commercial lines or property and casualty insurance and all lines of life and health insurance. Therefore, it is not applicable to service contract programs.|
|Michigan||Insurance Bulletin following Executive Stay at Home Order states that workers in the insurance industry are classified as critical infrastructure workers to the extent that their work cannot be down by telephone or remotely. This includes insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, third party administrators, nonprofit dental care corporations, producers, adjusters, and any workers necessary to the continued operation of these entities. All claims must continue to be processed and paid in a timely manner. Insurers must continue to make all required filings with DIFS.||The Bulletin pertains to insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, third party administrators, nonprofit dental care corporations, producers, adjusters, and any workers necessary to the continued operation of these entities.|
|Mississippi||To assist Mississippians impacted by this pandemic and the closures and quarantines it has caused, the Mississippi Insurance Department (“Department”) is hereby issuing a sixty (60) day moratorium on the cancellation/non-renewal of policies for the non-payment of premiums, effective March 14, 2020. This moratorium shall apply to all policies issued or issued for delivery in this State. Insurers are directed to work with impacted policyholders in paying the premiums that become due during the moratorium period by either allowing a payment plan or a further extension of the due date for the amount in full. Therefore, the Commissioner directs insurers to comply with the provisions of this Bulletin and to work with policyholders as everyone continues to assess the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.||The Bulletin issued by the Mississippi Insurance Department does not specify who it is directed at, but rather only states that the moratorium applies to all policies. Later in the Bulletin it directs insurers to work with policyholders. Therefore, it is likely that this Bulletin is directed to all policies issued by insurers.|
|Missouri||Governor’s Executive Order: The Director of the Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Division of Professional Registration and its Boards are hereby vested with authority to temporarily waive or suspend the operation of any statutory requirement or administrative rule under their purview, 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.
Insurance Bulletin -Grace Period- All Entities Listed Above Except Health Carriers: 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.
Insurance Bulletin: [t]o ensure that public health officials and the public are adequately informed about what the insurance industry is doing in response to COVID-19, the Department is requiring that insurers provide information about the steps they are taking in response to this Bulletin, particularly, the issues addressed in the items outlined above and information about how the insurer intends to continue to service the needs of the policyholders. Please send your information to Stewart Freilich at Stewart.Freilich@insurance.mo.gov.
|Governor issued an executive order permitting the Director of the Department of Commerce and Insurance the ability to waive or suspend any statutory requirement or administrative rule to best serve public health and safety.
Subsequently, the Director of Commerce and Insurance issued a Bulletin which is address to “all insurers conducting the business of insurance in the state of Missouri” but in the body of the Bulletin it states that it applies to all insurers and “any and all entities doing business in Missouri or regulated by the Department, regarding any and all types of insurance. While service contracts are not insurance, service contract providers appear to be outside of the scope of the Bulletin, and, therefore, it is our understanding that service contract providers are not required to file anything with the Department.
The Director of Commerce and Insurance has not made any additional pronouncements that impact service contract providers at this time, though the Governor has given broad authority to the Director, so we will continue to monitor.
|Montana||In a March 26, 2020 Letter to all insurers and producers, the Montana Commissioner recommended that the following actions be taken:
· Flexible payment solutions be made available;
· Premium billing suspensions for small businesses;
· Pausing cancellations and waiving late fees;
· Streamlining consumer burdens to facilitate continuous coverage; and
· Expanding auto coverage to allow personal vehicles to be covered for “commercial use.”
Additionally, the Commissioner asked for guidance on regulatory hurdles that may impede these efforts.
|No action necessary|
|In a March 23, 3020 Notice, the Nebraska Commissioner outlined producer licensing accommodations in lieu of the shutdown of all Prometric test sites. The following two are relevant:
1. For resident licenses expiring in March or April, a 90-day extension for the producer’s CE requirement can be granted. To request an extension, producers will need to email a request to email@example.com.
2. Nebraska will waive proctor requirements for self-study online courses until July 31, 2020.
The Nebraska Department of Insurance has received questions from some insurers asking if it is permissible for an insurer to relax certain requirements such as notice of loss requirements, premium payment provisions, and cancellation and non-renewal timeframes. In addition to questions whether such accommodations would create a regulatory determination of unfair trade practices, insurers have asked what filing requirements or amendments to existing filed rate and form filings are necessary. 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.
|No action necessary|
|Nevada||The Division’s expectation is that all carriers and insurance brokers and agents will continue to provide claim services and any and all consumer service support including clinical staff support for their fellow Nevadans. These particular support functions will enable all consumers to get much needed services from their insurance carriers during the current shut-down period.
The Division expects that the insurance carriers, agents and brokers will strive to perform all of their consumer service obligations using electronic means and using telework opportunities when available to help keep not just the industry members safe, but all of Nevada citizens safe. The expectation is that service will continue to be performed in a reasonable and timely manner.
The focus of all of the actions below should be on the industry’s consumer service obligations.
· 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.
Only cancel or non-renew if all other efforts are exhausted.
|Nevada’s guidance has been directed toward insurance carriers and brokers not service contract providers. As such, no action is necessary.|
|New Hampshire||The Department is extending the deadline for March 31, 2020 and April 30, 2020 RSA 402-J license renewals by a period of two months. The renewal deadline for licenses that are set to expire on March 31, 2020 is now May 31, 2020. The renewal deadline for licenses that are set to expire on April 30, 2020 is now June 30, 2020. The licenses are, as such, active for the extended period. The Department will not take any regulatory action against any RSA 402-J producer in regard to license renewal issues so long as the producer seeks renewal prior to the expiration of the extended period. The Department will consider further extensions should events warrant them.||No action necessary|
|New Jersey||The Department of Banking and Insurance is encouraging all insurers, banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders and brokers, consumer lenders, student lenders, insurance producers, real estate brokers, and any other person or entity subject to licensure or regulation by this Department, to take into consideration the difficulties residents have endured and will continue to endure… The Department specifically encourages the entities and individuals it regulates to assist those affected by the current conditions by taking actions such as: Insurance Division Regulated Entities/Individuals: Consistent with prudent insurance practices, relaxing due dates for premium payments and insurance policy based loan payments, extending grace periods, waiving late fees and penalties, allowing forbearance with regard to the cancellation/non-renewal of policies, allowing payment plans for premium payments, extending timeframes to complete property and automobile inspections or undergo medical exams, and exercising judicious efforts to assist affected policyholders and work with them to make sure that their insurance policies do not lapse.||No action necessary|
|New York||In the March 10, 2020 Insurance Circular No. 5 (2020) (the Circular), DFS requests “regulated insurance entities” to maintain preparedness plans to address the operational risk, identify, monitor, and manage the financial risk, posed by COVID-19.
DFS “requires that each regulated entity 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” Thursday, April 9, 2020, thirty days after the date of the Circular.
Each preparedness plan should be flexible and address, at a minimum, the following:
In addition, from a financial perspective, regulated entities may be impacted by COVID-19 in a variety of ways. For example, they may be exposed, as a result of the virus’s impact on consumers, counterparties, and vendors, to declining revenues, stock market declines and interest rate changes, increased claims, increased credit risks and defaults, supply chain and service disruptions, and decreases in the value of assets and investments. It is critical that your risk management programs include a plan to assess and monitor the financial risk that may arise from COVID-19. Such a plan, at a minimum, should include the following assessments:
The board of directors or the equivalent of your regulated entity is responsible for ensuring that appropriate plans are in place, and that sufficient resources are allocated to implement such plans. The senior management is responsible for ensuring that effective policies, processes, and procedures are in place to execute the plan, and for communicating the plan throughout the entity to ensure consistency in approach so that employees understand their roles and responsibilities.
In response to this crisis, DFS is issuing guidance to urge all regulated entities during this outbreak to do their part to alleviate the adverse impact caused by COVID-19 on those consumers and small businesses that can demonstrate financial hardship caused by COVID-19, including taking reasonable and prudent actions to support affected New Yorkers by:
DFS also urges all regulated entities, in their capacity as creditors to businesses of all sizes, to work with and provide accommodations to their borrowers during this unprecedented global emergency to the extent reasonable and prudent, including refraining from exercising rights and remedies based on potential technical defaults under material adverse change and other contractual provisions that might be triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DFS will suspend the expiration of licenses for all individual producers for the next 60 days and waive any late fees resulting from, and accruing during, this suspension period. At the end of this 60-day period, all licenses that would have expired but for this circular letter will automatically expire unless the producer has submitted a license renewal application, including completion of all necessary continuing education credits, before that date. Furthermore, DFS will suspend the requirement that a monitor be present to complete producer continuing education and pre-licensing course exams online during this 60-day period. Except as provided in this circular letter, all licensing requirements, including those relating to continuing education, will continue to apply.
|Service contract providers not otherwise registered with New York DFS as an insurer or other regulated insurance entity have an argument that they are not subject to the plain language of this requirement, because “the marketing, sale, offer for sale, issuance, making, proposing to make or administration of a service contract pursuant to article seventy-nine of this chapter or warranty, service contract or maintenance agreement conditioned upon or otherwise associated with the sale or supply of heating fuel shall not constitute doing an insurance business in this state.” N.Y. Ins. Law § 1101(b)(3-a).|
|North Carolina||Insurance Commissioner released a statement asking the state’s insurance industry to consider the following actions: Relax due dates for premiums payments; Extend grace periods; Waive late fees and penalties; Allow payment plans for premiums payments to otherwise avoid a lapse in coverage; Consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting other efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage.
North Carolina is extending the CE requirements for insurance agents until the end of June.
Pursuant to NCGS 58-2-46, this bulletin pertains to all insurance companies and includes a service corporation, HMO, MEWA, surplus lines insurer, the underwriting associations defined in NCGS 58-455(1) and NCGS 58-46-5, premium finance companies, collections agencies, and other persons subject to Chapter 58 of North Carolina General Statutes.
NCGS 58-2-46 provides the specifics pertaining to extensions, deferrals, and other extra requirements applicable to the entities as referenced therein. Such entities are required to provide their customers adversely affected in the disaster area specific relief of the insureds’ payment, submission of claims and other responsibilities. You are encouraged to review the statutory requirements for proper implementation.
All entities that are subject to North Carolina’s External Review Law, NCGS 58-50 Part 4, shall allow consumers, whose requests may have been impacted by the disaster, additional time for their requests to be received and reviewed. Additionally, for cases that have been accepted and additional information is being submitted, the timeframes for receiving this information will also be extended.
|No action necessary
This most recent bulletin only pertains to Chapter 58 licensees, and service contract providers are not Chapter 58 licensees. As such, no action is necessary.
|North Dakota||In consideration of the public health crisis, producers and consultants whose license expires on March 31, 2020 are not required to provide the Insurance Department with a request for extension, written or otherwise, and are granted a CE reporting extension to April 30, 2020.
The North Dakota Insurance Department encourages all licensed insurers, producers, adjusters, and other persons licensed by the Department to extent premium deadlines, offer grace periods, offer additional time before non-renewals or cancellations become effective, relax time limitations, extent proof of loss deadlines, waive late fees, develop creative payment plan structures.
The Insurance Department encourages producers, carriers, agencies and adjustors to practice social distancing and to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for businesses and employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. To facilitate social distancing, the Insurance Department encourages producers to only contact consumers by telephone or through electronic means, such as email or video chat. Producers are furthermore encouraged to post notices that consumers are to initiate contact by phone or email. Agencies are encouraged to facilitate social distancing by closing offices to the public and allowing employees to work remotely. This includes the forwarding of phone calls to personal phones and providing employees with a computer to be used at home. The Insurance Department recognizes that adjusters are often obliged to have in-person interactions with consumers. The Insurance Department encourages adjusters to contact consumers by telephone or through electronic means, such as email or video chat, as much as possible. When required to meet with a consumer, adjusters are encouraged to maintain a distance of six (6) feet from the consumer, to wear protective gloves while handling the consumer’s property, and to thoroughly wash their hands following the interaction. Additionally, carriers are encouraged to implement policies which provide for remote appraisals in a nondiscriminatory fashion for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
|No action necessary|
|If a producer license expires during the state of emergency, it will remain valid and may be renewed until no later than 90 days after the state of emergency ends or December 1, 2020, whichever comes first. The deadline for completing continuing education requirements is also extended. Finally, any person whose pre-license education course completion certificate expired during the examination center closings and for a period of two weeks after the examination centers reopen will have their pre-licensing course completion certificate deadline extended for thirty days after the exam centers reopen. This will allow a student to sit for an examination past the 180-day expiration of the certificate.
Accordingly, the Superintendent hereby orders 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 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.
The Superintendent is not requiring Insurers to waive any premiums or other consideration owed on any policy or contract during this period of time. Further, the Superintendent anticipates that a failure to pay premiums or remit consideration by the end of the grace period may subject the policy to a retroactive cancellation, in accordance with the policy terms. Further, the Superintendent hereby orders Insurers to provide at least a 60-day grace period as to any policy provision that imposes a time limit on an insured or claimant to perform any act, including the submission of information or funds, with respect to a contract for insurance. This means Insurers are to extend such time limits by at least 60 calendar days from the last day allowed under the terms of the contract, or any longer period that may be deemed reasonable under the specific circumstances related to that insured or claimant.
Nothing in this bulletin should be construed as prohibiting an Insurer from cancelling or nonrenewing a policy for any lawful reason other than nonpayment of premium.
|No action necessary|
|All carriers should review their internal processes and continuity of operations, including ability to telecommute, to ensure that they are prepared to serve their members, including by providing insureds with information and timely access to all services. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, carriers should continually assess their readiness and make any necessary adjustments. This includes notifications to producers and brokers to keep consumers up to date. Access to accurate information and avoiding misinformation are critical. Therefore, carriers should inform insureds of available benefits specifically related to business interruption insurance, quickly respond to insured inquiries, and consider revisions needed to streamline responses and benefits for insureds. Carriers should make all necessary and useful information available on their websites and staff their helplines accordingly. Property and casualty carriers should extend their applicable grace period for nonpayment of premium by an additional forty-five (45) days. 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. The provisions of this bulletin are in effect until the state emergency is no longer in place.
The Oklahoma Insurance Department (OID), led by Commissioner Glen Mulready, has made available temporary Producer and Apprentice Adjuster license due to the recent closure of PROMETRIC testing centers nationwide in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Currently, a new resident producer and new resident adjuster license is not available if you haven’t passed the testing examination. The Oklahoma Insurance Department is still working toward a remote option for license examinations. Both temporary licenses are in effect until 30 days after the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-07 expires.
|The Bulletin only applies to property and casualty insurers licensed in Oklahoma. Therefore, service contract entities do not need to take action at this time.|
|Oregon||The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services issued a temporary emergency order 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.
Insurance companies must take steps immediately to do the following until the order is no longer in effect:
· Institute a grace period for premium payments on all insurance policies issued in the state
· Suspend all cancellations and nonrenewals for active insurance policies
· Extend all deadlines for consumers to report claims and communicate about claims
· Provide consumers the ability to make premium payments and report claims while maintaining safe social distancing standards
The order is effective immediately and will be in force through at least April 23. If necessary, the department may extend the duration of this temporary order.
|Service contract business is unaffected by this order because service contract providers are not insurance companies.|
|Until further notice, the Commissioner of the Commonwealth, pursuant to 40 P.S. 310.8(e), will temporarily waive CE requirements for licensees who cannot meet requirements due to extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19.
Pennsylvania issued a notice urging carriers to be flexible when assisting individuals and businesses affected by the outbreak, and offer guidance for continuing operations during the pandemic.
To prevent disruption of business conducted by insurance companies and other licensees, the Office of Corporate and Financial Regulation will, for a limited time, accept filings electronically. The insurance department is also requesting that any filings which are not immediately necessary be withdrawn and any filings which were to be made be held until further notice, to ensure that essential filings receive timely review.
Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner cautioned Pennsylvania’s insurance licensees that in-person sales and brokerage are prohibited by Governor Wolf’s Order closing all non-life sustaining businesses in the Commonwealth to slow the spread COVID-19. The Department intends to pursue disciplinary action against any licensee that violates the order.
|No action necessary|
|Rhode Island||Insurance producers with licenses expiring on March 31, 2020 will have their licenses automatically until April 30, 2020. Those licensees affected will receive an email directly to the business email address associated with their license.
The Rhode Island Insurance Division requests that insurers writing business in our state take the following steps to preserve access to insurance coverage during this emergency
• 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.
• Institute alternative methods of payment for those insureds whose normal method of payment is affected by this emergency. For example, insurers could provide for electronic premium payments as an alternative to in-person payments.
• Insurers should institute additional flexibility in the form of waivers of late, insufficient funds and installment fees and penalties, extension of billing due dates and premium grace periods.
• Insurers should explore ways to streamline or delay the submission of administrative paperwork that may jeopardize the maintenance and/or issuance of coverage.
• Insurer should consider filings to alter policies to reflect the anticipated effects of the emergency. These would include, but are not limited to, reduction in premiums for active policies and amendment to coverages to reflect changes in anticipated activities as a result of the emergency such as removal of the exclusion for deliveries in personal automobile policies.
• Insurers should explore ways to make claims processes easier and more responsive such as electronic delivery of claims payments and remote adjustment of damages.
|No action necessary|
|South Carolina||To all insurers, HMO’s and other licensed or authorized entities and individuals, the Director of Insurance expects the insurance industry to work with those South Carolina citizens and business directly impacted and to provide relief from certain insurance requirements:
· Extension of premium payment deadlines;
· Additional time before non-renewals or cancellations become effective;
· Extension of proof of loss deadlines;
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 this pandemic.
|Pursuant to this bulletin, service contract providers should consider providing additional flexibility to consumers during this time.|
|Tennessee||The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance requests 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.||This bulletin pertains to insurance carriers operating in Tennessee. As such, no action is necessary.|
|Texas – TDI||In an update to the insurers of Texas, the Commissioner explained that actions by the Governor enable the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to “request suspension of state laws or rules that may hinder of delay the state’s response to the virus.”
On March 20, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott suspended certain claim-handling deadlines
Taken together, the Governor’s suspension and the Commissioner’s declaration have the
• Promptly identify, evaluate, and resolve claims.
• Promptly acknowledge receipt of a claim.
• Promptly make appropriate assignments for the investigation of a claim.
Consumers and providers should continue to get timely service and receive prompt claims
TDI expects all carriers to work with policyholders who may experience financial hardships
Automatic bank drafts for premium payments may continue according to a carrier’s written
Governor Greg Abbott approved suspension of certain licensing requirements and fees for Texas‑licensed insurance agents and adjusters
· For licenses that expired on or before February 29, 2020, the renewal period is extended to May 31, 2020.
· For licenses that expire between March 31, 2020, and April 30, 2020, late fees and continuing education fines will be waived if the license is renewed by May 31, 2020.
· All current temporary licenses and new temporary licenses issued will remain active until further notice.
· The $100 additional fee for a temporary license is waived until further notice.
· The requirement that temporary agent licensees obtain training in a classroom setting is waived. Instead, applicants seeking a temporary license may take approved webinars and courses listed as “classroom equivalent” to satisfy the 10 hours of classroom training.
· The requirement to submit fingerprints for a temporary license is delayed until further notice.
|No action necessary|
|Texas – TREC||Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, TREC, based on approval by Governor Greg Abbott, is waiving all renewal and application deadlines until May 31, 2020.
All license applicants and license holders within their renewal period are automatically granted an extension to complete their initial application or renewal requirements until May 31, 2020. TREC and TALCB will be monitoring and assessing the need for further exceptions and extensions on an ongoing basis. Impacted license holders are encouraged to do their very best to submit all required documentation and complete coursework to the extent possible within or as close to your original deadlines as possible. This effort on your part will assist the TREC and TALCB in the timely review and processing of applications and renewals.
Anyone with a license expiration date of March 31, 2020, or April 30, 2020, is granted an extension through May 31, 2020.
Initial License Applicants – all license types
If an application was set to expire from March 11, 2020, through May 31, 2020, the applicant will have until May 31, 2020, to complete all license application requirements.
|No action necessary. It is, however, important to note that all license applicants and license holders within their renewal period are automatically granted an extension to complete their initial application or renewal requirements until May 31, 2020. Anyone with a license expiration date of March 31, 2020, or April 30, 2020, is granted an extension through May 31, 2020. Finally, if an application was set to expire from March 11, 2020, through May 31, 2020, the applicant will have until May 31, 2020, to complete all license application requirements.
|Vermont||The Department of Financial Regulation requests that all insurance companies provide their policyholders with a reasonable grace period to pay insurance premiums to avoid policies being cancelled for nonpayment of premium due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.||No action necessary.|
|Virginia||The Bureau encourages those it regulates to consider taking the following actions, consistent with prudent insurance practices:
• Insurers should 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.
• Insurers should also consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting all other reasonable efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage.
|No action is necessary.|
|Washington||Insurers that sell property and casualty policies in Washington must:
· Provide a grace period for policyholders to pay their insurance premiums.
· Waive fees related to any late payments, including late fees and reinstatement fees.
Refrain from canceling any policy for nonpayment of premium unless the policyholder requests the policy to be canceled.
|This requirement is inapplicable to service contract business, because “[t]he marketing, sale, offering for sale, issuance, making, proposing to make, and administration of service contracts or protection products by service contract providers or protection product guarantee providers and related service contract or protection product sellers, administrators, and other persons complying with this chapter are exempt from the other provisions of [the Insurance Code], except chapters 48.04 and 48.30 RCW and as otherwise provided in this chapter. See Wash. Rev. Code § 48.110.033(2).|
|West Virginia||According to an Emergency Order issued March 13, 2020, “Insurers and other regulated entities must assess and review their plans of preparedness and plans for continuity of operations to manage the risk of disruption to their operations arising from COVID-19 and actively seek to mitigate the risk of harm to policyholders and claimant.”
Notwithstanding, “the Commissioner recognizes that insurers and other regulated entities may have a limited or otherwise adversely impacted workforce available as a result of the pandemic or may further request or require that their employees limit their direct or personal contact with others, including vendors, third-party contractors, claimants or policyholders.”
As such, the Commissioner DECLARED an insurance emergency. The effect is to suspend “normal time frames for claim handling and settlement.” Insurers should prioritize claims adjustment and resolution strategies during this insurance emergency to ensure that high priority claims are addressed before lower priority claims.
Effective immediately, under the authority of W. Va. Code § 33-12-16, the Commissioner will issue a temporary producer license to applicants for a producer license, 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. Such temporary licenses will only be issued to applicants who will, when
licensed, engage in the business of insurance while employed by an existing agency, brokerage or insurer and under the direct supervision of a producer who is currently licensed and in good standing with the Commissioner.
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. Upon rescission of the temporary producer license, the licensee will no longer be licensed, will immediately revert to the status of applicant, and must then complete all usual requirements for licensure in order to obtain a producer license.
Recipients of such temporary producer licenses will be subject to any and all limitations on the authority of such temporary license as specified in the license or in documentation furnished with the temporary license. Notwithstanding the foregoing, every such temporary producer licensee shall be required, when engaging in the business of insurance pursuant to temporary licensure, to do so only while under the direct supervision of a producer who is currently licensed and in good standing with the Commissioner.
|No action necessary|
|Wisconsin||Insurers are encouraged to offer flexibility to insureds who are incurring economic hardship. This flexibility can include 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. Accommodations should not be applied in an unfairly discriminatory manner.||No action necessary|