In conjunction with the Locke Lord COVID-19 task force, we are reviewing, analyzing, and compiling regulatory updates 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 Lines of Insurance
All States: The NAIC has released a COVID-19 Information Request Template (the “Template). The Template preamble explains, “it was developed for purposes of state insurance department use in collecting information from U.S. insurance groups and legal entities (hereafter “companies”) on their preparation for and exposure to the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Companies are asked to provide complete and accurate responses to the relevant sections of the request to facilitate effective regulatory review and to reduce the need for additional requests.” Please see our breakdown of the Template here.
Colorado: The Division of Insurance has posted the acknowledgement survey required by Bulletin B-5.38 (the “Bulletin”). The Bulletin directed insurers to provide reasonable accommodations to policyholders and explain those accommodations on their website. The survey may be found at: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/list-company-surveys. The survey prompts insurers to provide the URL where the reasonable accommodations information is displayed. Responses are required by May 1, 2020, 5 P.M. Mountain Time.
California: On April 3rd, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today issued a Notice to all admitted and non-admitted insurance companies to stop enforcing policy or statutory deadlines on policyholders for claims or coverage until 90 days after the statewide “state of emergency” or any other “state of emergency” has ended related to COVID-19. The policy or statutory deadlines referenced in the Notice, “includes, but is not limited to, deadlines for the submission of a sworn proof of loss, other claim forms, examinations under oath, medical examinations, physical inspections of insured property, separating damaged property from undamaged property, temporary repairs to prevent further damage, and any other policy, statutory, or insurer imposed deadlines placed on the policyholder where failure to comply could result in the forfeiture, limitation, or waiver of any policyholder(s) rights to benefits under any policy of insurance.”
Connecticut: On April 2nd, the Insurance Department issued a Notice to all entities licensed or regulated by the Insurance department including admitted and non-admitted insurers, insurance producers and surplus lines brokers concerning the Insurance Department’s Interpretive Guidance No. 1 for Executive Order No. 7S. The Notice states, among other things, “[t]he Governor’s Executive Order No. 7S, dated April 1, 2020, works in conjunction with Connecticut Insurance Department Bulletin IC-40. If an insurance company has already extended the grace period of 60 days, pursuant to Bulletin IC-40, the company is considered to be in compliance with Executive Order No. 7S even if such 60-day period ends prior to June 1, 2020. Any extended grace period issued on or after April 1, 2020 is not required to go beyond June 1, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order No. 7S.” Additionally, the Notice states, “[i]n connection with Executive Order No. 7S, insurers have asked whether written notice is required to be provided to insureds notifying them of the 60-day grace period for the payment of insurance premiums as outlined in the Executive Order. Given the circumstances facing the State, the Department believes that it would be appropriate for insurers to notify insureds, brokers and producers of the 60-day grace period by any reasonable means including, but not limited to, electronic communications. Written notice is not required.”
Connecticut: On April 1st, The Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission (“WCC”) issued Memorandum 2020-09 regarding the WCC RME and CME policy related to the use of telemedicine. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCC has decided that RMEs and CMEs can be conducted using telemedicine at the discretion of the doctor. The Memorandum includes procedural guidance.
Georgia: On April 2nd, Governor Brian Kemp issued an Executive Order ordering Georgia residents and visitors to shelter in place within their home or places of residence. Non-Essential businesses are required to close. Insurance, deemed Critical Infrastructure, is permitted to stay open. The Order is in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 13, 2020.
Hawaii: On March 27th, Commission Colin Hayashida issued Memorandum 2020-31 to all admitted and non-admitted insurers offering policies in the State of Hawaii, encouraging insurers selling insurance coverage in the state for all lines of insurance to be mindful of the difficulties individuals and businesses in the state are experiencing. The Commissioner encourages insurers to work with their insureds to ensure coverage continues during this time, and 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;
- Wor k 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; and
- Continue working with insureds for a period of 60 days after this health emergency has passed, or as long as reasonably practical.
South Carolina: On April 2nd, Commissioner Raymond Farmer issued Bulletin 2020-03, to all insurers, producers, surplus lines brokers, bail bondsmen, and other licensed or authorized persons transacting the business of insurance in the state, relating to temporary producer licenses for new applicants, and extension of compliance deadlines and license renewals.
Washington: The Office of the Insurance Commissioner issued a Frequently Asked Questions “FAQ” related to Emergency Order 2020-03. Emergency Order 20-03, issued March 25th, relates to grace periods for nonpayment of premium and temporarily prohibiting cancellations.
West Virginia: On April 3rd, Commissioner James Dodrill issued Emergency Order 20-EO-06, prohibiting insurance institutions, including insurance companies, underwriters, agents (producers), brokers, and related insurance claims and agency services, their employees or representatives from engaging in door-to-door/in-home solicitation of new insurance business or other door-to-door/in-home insurance activity or transactions during this insurance emergency and/or State of Emergency unless certain conditions exist.
Property and Casualty Insurance
Maryland: On April 3rd, the Maryland Insurance Administration issued Bulletin No. 2017 to all property and casualty insurance companies and producers, and all public adjusters, related to COVID-19 and contractual deadlines within property and casualty insurance policies. The Bulletin asks for cooperation with respect to difficulties individuals may have complying with certain claim deadlines contained in their insurance policies. Specifically, the Bulletin discusses, claim reporting/first notice of loss, sworn statements in proof of loss, additional living expenses/loss of use/rental reimbursement/non-COVID-19 Business Interruption claims, examinations under oath, and requests for replacement cost payments.
Texas: On March 30th, Commissioner of Workers’ Compensation Cassie Brown issued guidance to Texas Workers’ Compensation System participants suspending Texas Government Code Sections 607.002(1) and (2). The guidance states, “that in order to ensure that public safety employees of government entities are able to be reimbursed by their for reasonable medical expenses related to COVID-19, Governor Abbott has suspended Texas Government Code Sections 607.002(1) and (2) to the extent necessary to allow public safety employees who were likely to have been exposed to COVID-19 while in the course of their employment, to be entitled to the reimbursements set forth in Section 607.002 of the Government Code.”
Utah: On April 2nd, Commissioner Todd Kiser issued Bulletin 2020-4 to all property and casualty insurers, brokers, and agents, regarding helping clients and finding new opportunities during the COVID-19 crisis. The Bulletin encourages insurers to adjust premiums when possible and offer additional coverage options to adapt and assist policyholders under the circumstances.
Colorado: On April 2nd, The Division of Insurance announced the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period for individual health insurance will be extended to run through April 30, 2020. The original period that was announced on March 19 was set to end on Friday, April 3. The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), worked with Connect for Health Colorado to add additional time for Coloradans who are currently uninsured to get health coverage.
Illinois: On April 2, the Illinois DOI released CB 2020-07, which provides that, effective immediately, all Preferred Provider Administrators (PPA), Independent Review Organizations (IRO), Utilization Review Organizations (URO), and Discount Health Care Service Plans (DHCP) must file their applications, renewals and updates through State Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF) system.
Kentucky: On April 3, the Kentucky DOI issued an advisory announcing that health benefit plan rate filings required to be provided to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office at the same time as submission to the DOI may now be sent to the AG’s Office electronically.
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.