In conjunction with the Locke Lord COVID-19 task force, we are reviewing, analyzing, and compiling information from state and federal resources, including insurance trade associations, to provide clients easy access to information during this unprecedented time.  If you have any questions on the subject matter below, do not hesitate to reach out.  The information below relates to state and federal bulletins, emergency orders, pending/enacted legislation, and other related actions taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All States – NAIC Guidance on Data Calls: According to APCIA, the NAIC President and Director, Ray Farmer, South Carolina Department of Insurance, emailed the insurance commissioner’s for every state, urging them to refrain from issuing data calls related to the COVID-19 emergency until the NAIC completes its data reporting template. The NAIC template is expected to be complete by April 1.  The NAIC template will cover insurer operational readiness, financial markets’ impact, and policy coverage matters.  The NAIC staff has suggested that each state coordinate their inquiries through the lead state for which the domestic is a part of.

Connecticut: On March 25th, the Connecticut Insurance Department issued a notice on their website to insurance producers regarding its extended renewal period for resident and nonresident insurance producers for March, April, and May 2020.

Georgia:  On March 25th, the Governor of Georgia issued an executive order delaying or extending specified deadlines and requirements concerning drivers’ licenses and identification cards, among other things. The order will expire at the conclusion of the Public Health State of Emergency.

Idaho: On March 25th, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare issued a statewide Order to self-isolate.  The Order requires Idaho residents to stay and work from home as much as possible while ensuring all essential services and business remain open.   Insurance services are deemed to be Essential Businesses under Section 8. (f)(vii). The Order became effective March 25th and will remain in effect for 21 days.

Iowa: On March 25th, Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen issued Bulletin 20-05, providing licensing relief to licensed insurance producers and state-registered securities professionals.  The Bulletin states, that insurance licensees may continue to be timely renewed and the Iowa Insurance Division is implementing procedures to avoid suspensions and non-renewals. The Bulletin follows up on Governor Reynolds March 22nd Proclamation that suspends the rules that require in-person continuing education as a condition of license renewal or impose deadlines or requirements to continuing education that are unable to be satisfied due to the disaster emergency. The Proclamation also relaxes expiration dates or renewal requirements for professional licenses that expire during the duration of the Proclamation.

Kansas: On March 24th, Governor Laura Kelly issued Executive Order 20-15 establishing the Kansas Essential Function Framework (“KEFF”) for COVID-19 response efforts.  The Order supersedes any local order prohibiting citizens from leaving their homes, and identifies the essential functions that make up the KEFF.  Insurance services is part of the framework.  The Order remains in force until May 1, 2020, the Order is rescinded, or the State of Emergency expires.

Louisiana: On March 24th, Commissioner James Donelon issued Emergency Rule 38, providing for the temporary licensing of insurance producers during the COVID-19 emergency. The remains in effect until May 15, 2020, unless terminated sooner.

Mississippi:  On March 24th, Governor Tate Reeves issued Executive Order No. 1463 restricting the number of people allowed to gather for social or non-essential events to no more than 10.  Essential Businesses and Operations include insurance (Financial services) and are exempt from the restrictions.  The Order is effective until April 17, 2020.

Montana: On March 26th, Insurance Commissioner Matthew Rosendale, Sr. sent a letter to all insurance companies across all lines of business, all Licensed Producers, and Independent Adjusters, asking them to consider recommendations to assist policyholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The recommendations include, among other things, flexible payment solutions allowing grace periods to delay premium periods, suspending premium billing for small businesses, and pausing cancellation of coverage for motorists due to temporary non-payment and policy expiration.

Nebraska: On March 23rd, the Director of Insurance Bruce Ramge issued a notice informing producers that for licenses expiring this March or April, a 90-day extension for continuing education requirements can be granted.

New York: On March 25th, the New York Department of Financial Services (“DFS”) issued Circular Letter #9, to all producers licensed by DFS, providing temporary relief in connection with licensing requirements for producers, including temporarily suspending expiration of licenses and waiving late fees.

North Dakota: On March 25th, Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread issued Bulletin 2020-4, to insurance carriers offering personal auto insurance, encouraging them to temporarily cover an insured while delivering food, medicine or other essential goods during the COVID-19 Crisis. Companies extending the coverage will need to submit an information filing via SERFF regarding this change.  The coverage extension is not intended for drivers who otherwise have coverage for deliveries through their personal policy or another policy.

Oklahoma: On March 24th, Governor J. Kevin Stitt issued the Fourth Amended Executive Order 2020-07, stating that effective as of 11:59 PM on March 25th, all businesses not identified as being within a critical infrastructure sector as defined by the CISA Guidelines or the Order are required to close.  Insurance is defined as critical infrastructure under the CISA Guidelines as is exempt from the Order.  The Order is effective until the end of 30 days after the filing of the Order.

Oregon:  On March 25th, Property and Casualty Program manager Brian Fordham issued a memorandum to all admitted and non-admitted commercial liability insurers, stating that 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 of the Department of Consumer and Business Services.  The memorandum was issued in response to Executive Order 20-12 which set forth the requirements that child care providers must meet in order to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Carolina: On March 25th, Director of Insurance Raymond Farmer issued Bulletin No. 2020-02 advising all insurers that Department of Insurance expects the insurance industry to work with and provide relief from certain insurance requirements to citizens of the state and businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19.  Such relief may include, among other things, 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 as a result of the pandemic.

Texas: On March 25th, The Texas Department of Insurance issued Commissioner’s Bulletin B-0009-20, notifying insurers how to submit financial filings to the Texas Department of Insurance during the COVID-19 emergency.

Virginia: On March 24th, the Virginia Bureau of Insurance issued guidance to policyholders concerning Business Interruption Insurance Coverage and COVID-19. The guidance encourages policyholders to read their business interruption insurance contract carefully to understand the coverage it provides.  The guidelines states that business interruption policies typically exclude viruses and bacteria and/or communicable disease.

Washington: On March 25th, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a special data call to all authorized property and casualty insurers regarding business interruption and related commercial coverage written in Washington state. The data call instructs authorized property and casualty insurers to provide certain information regarding the commercial property insurance it has written in Washington state and details on the business interruption coverage provided in the types of policies for which it has ongoing exposure. Commercial property insurance includes the following, along with substantially similar insurance: business owner policies, commercial multiple peril policies, and specialized multiple peril policies.  Each insurer should provide the volume of business interruption coverage, civil authority coverage, contingent business interruption coverage, and supply chain coverage the insurer that wrote that was in effect on March 15, 2020, which should be expressed in amounts of direct written premium, policy types and numbers of policies written of each type. All responses need to be sent to [email protected] on or before April 1, 2020.

Washington: On March 25th, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued Emergency Order 20-03, to all insurers, insurance producers, and surplus lines brokers, stating that 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.   Regulated entities are prohibited from cancelling a policy for nonpayment of premium from March 25, 2020, to May 9, 2020, unless specifically directed to cancel by the insured.

Washington: On March 25th, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued a Claims Advisory directed to all authorized and unauthorized property and casualty companies and licensees that conduct insurance business in Washington State.  The Advisory states that insurers must follow minimum standards of claims handling found in WAC 284-30-330 through WAC 284-30-380, promptly investigate claims, disclose all benefits and coverages under a policy when a claim is presented, and promptly issue payment for any claims owed under the policy.

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center often for up-to-date information to help you stay informed of the legal issues related to COVID-19.