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
Alabama: On April 3rd, State Health Office Scott Harris issued a notice ordering every person in Alabama to stay at their place of residence except as necessary to perform essential activities. Insurance is defined as an essential activity. The order went into effect April 4, 2020.
Colorado: The Colorado Division of Insurance is requesting comments on draft Bulletin B-1.34, Notice of Alternate Electronic Service of Process during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulletin would provide a temporary operating procedure for accepting alternate Service of Process electronically or by delivery to the Attorney General’s office.
Delaware: On April 3rd, Commissioner Trinidad Navarro issued Domestic and Foreign Insurers Bulletin No. 117/Producers and Adjusters Bulletin No. 33, to all insurance companies authorized to transact business in Delaware and all licensed insurance producers, providing compliance guidance related to regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 crisis. The guidance discusses, among other things, cancellation and nonrenewal of policies and policyholder flexibility; COVID-19 related frauds and scams, electronic filings, signatures, and notarizations, and regulatory deadlines and requests for extension.
Florida: On April 6th, Commissioner David Altmaier issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-05M, to all insurers and entities regulated by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation authorized to transact workers compensation insurance. The Memorandum provides guidance on the treatment of policyholders as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to protect Floridians. The Memorandum reminds regulated entities to provide coverage if the employee suffers a compensable injury arising out of work performed in the course and scope of employment, among other things.
Louisiana: The Louisiana Department of Insurance amended Emergency Rule 40, clarifying the rates that insurers must use when renewing policies during the state of emergency. Additionally, the Amendment discusses the elimination of all provisions pertaining to premium financing arrangements.
Massachusetts: On April 3, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-11, which grants exceptions to certain filings requirements in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Bulletin 2020-11 suspends certain financial statement hard copy filing requirements and extends the due dates for certain first quarter financial statement filings. The Bulletin also addresses holding company filings, corporate governance annual disclosure filings, audit/internal control related reports, insurer license application and amendments, managed care accreditation filings and mental health parity certifications/reports.
Massachusetts: On April 3, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-12, which addresses individual licensing requirements in connection with the pandemic. Among other measures, the Bulletin extends all individual licenses in good standing on March 10 are extended and remain valid until 90 days after the termination of the state of emergency. The Bulletin also addresses continuing education and licensing examination in the context of the pandemic.
Missouri: On April 3rd, Governor Michael Parson issued an Order requiring individuals currently residing in state to avoid leaving their homes or places or residence except in furtherance of essential functions. Individuals performing essential worker functions, as outlined by the CISA guidance are exempt, but must maintain social distance measures. Insurance services are considered Critical Infrastructure and exempt. The Order went into effect on April 6th and remains in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 24th.
New York: On April 6th, the New York Department of Financial Services issued updated guidance extending the deadline for regulated insurance entities to respond to the request for information under Insurance Circular Letter No. 5. Insurance Circular Letter No. 5 (Regulated Insurance Entities and Request for Assurance Relating to Operational and Financial Risk Arising from the Outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)) requested a response within 30 days from the date of the letter, which is April 9th. The new deadline for a response is April 17th, 2020.
New York: On April 6th, the New York Department of Financial Services issued updated guidance to insurance producers regarding electronic delivery of notices pursuant to new 11 NYCRR § 229.5(b) and 3 NYCRR § 405.6(b)(4) (Emergency Regulations related to implementing the grace period/moratorium on cancellation and non-renewal).
North Carolina: On April 3, 2020 the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) Agent Services Division (ASD) issued a memorandum regarding licensing and education of North Carolina resident producers and adjusters. At this time, NYDOI is unable to issue temporary licenses or add new lines of authority to existing licensees. This interruption is due to the closing of testing centers and due to the inability to meet the fingerprinting requirement. As for continuing education, all North Carolina licensed insurance producers and adjusts whose Continuing Education (CE) compliance period expires March, April, or May 2020 will be granted an extension through June 30, 2020 in order to meet the state mandated CE requirements. This includes North Carolina nonresident adjusters with North Carolina as the Designated Home State.
Rhode Island: On April 3rd, the Rhode Island Secretary of State authorized the performance of Remote Online Notarization for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
Tennessee: On April 3rd, the Department of Financial Institutions issued Bulleting C-20-1 encouraging premium finance companies, to the greatest extent possible, to accommodate insureds by extending or providing grace periods for loan payments or to be otherwise flexible with respect to determinations of default under premium finance agreements. Moreover, in order to facilitate this accommodation, the Department of Commerce and Insurance is encouraging insurance carriers to work with premium finance companies to facilitate any grace period modifications.
Wyoming: On April 3rd, Governor Mark Gordon issued a Statewide Directive for individuals arriving in Wyoming from another state of country to self-quarantine. The Directive applies to individuals arriving from another state or country for a non-work related purpose. The Directive is effective through April 30th.
Property and Casualty Insurance
California: On April 6th, Commission Ricardo Lara issued a notice alerting insurance companies that all workers affected by COVID-19 on the job are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits regardless of their immigration status. This includes workers engaged in front-line occupations such as health care, emergency services, food production, sales, and delivery, among others.
Illinois: On April 3rd, Director Robert Muriel issued Company Bulletin 2020-09, to all companies and other entities licensed to transact insurance business in the state of Illinois who issue or deliver property and casualty insurance policies, requesting that all insurers licensed or authorized to transact insurance business in Illinois immediately consider implementing protective measures. The measures include moratorium on cancellations and non-renewals, postponement of cancellation and non-renewal hearings, other insurance related time period extensions, notice requirements, and communications to insured. Insurers need not file policy or rating manual changes to implement these measures.
Indiana: On April 2nd, The Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board issued a notice encouraging employers to decide whether there should be a presumption of workers’ compensation coverage for first responders, health care providers, and others who are prone to COVID-19.
Kentucky: On April 3rd, Commissioner Sharon Clark issued Departmental Guidance to all licensees offering medical malpractice insurance in Kentucky, insurance agents, and health care providers covered under medical malpractice insurance. The Guidance encourages health care providers to contact their licensure boards to determine whether there are any waivers or guidance relaxing restrictions related to their scope of practice, and to contact their insurance company or insurance agent and follow the company’s requirements for notification of changes to the scope of practice.
Maryland: On April 6th, the Maryland Insurance Administration issued Bulletin No. 20-18, to all property and casualty insurance companies and producers, encouraging insurers to work with policyholders to make premium reductions, relating to vehicles owners returning registration plates and dropping insurance coverage to reduce costs, without the return of tags. The Bulletin advises that this will eliminate the need to re-register vehicles after the State of Emergency ends.
Colorado: On April 3rd, the Division of Insurance implemented Emergency Regulation 20-E-05 concerning coverage and reimbursement for telehealth services during the COVID-19 disaster. The purpose of the Emergency Regulation is to require carrier to reimburse providers for provision of telehealth services using non-public facing audio or video communication products during the health emergency.
Connecticut: On April 3rd, the Commissioner Andrew Mais issued Bulletin HC-90-20A to all insurance companies regarding the filing requirements for individual and small employer group health insurance policies subject to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Bulletin states, “[d]ue to the public health emergency posed by COVID-19 and the urgent need to provide issuers flexibility in managing these challenges, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated the Benefit Year (BY) 2019 Risk Adjustment program timeline for data submission. This Bulletin is being issued in response to such update.” The Bulletin discusses rate fillings, maximum copayments amounts, and semi-annual fillings for small group rates, among other things.
Florida: On April 6th, Commissioner David Altmaier issued Informational Memorandum OIR-20-06M (Telehealth and Pharmacy Audit Guidance) to all health insurers, and other health entities regulated by OIR, and all Pharmacy Benefit Managers registered to do business in Florida to encourage the use of technology to help combat the spread of COVID-19. According to the Memorandum, all health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and other health entities are encouraged to broaden access to care for telehealth services to help alleviate hurdles for Floridians attempting to utilize telehealth services to receive needed care. Additionally, all registered Pharmacy Benefit Managers are requested to transition to an electronic audit process in order to avoid unnecessary risk and maintain social distancing, and extended audit deadlines when possible.
Illinois: On April 3, 2020 the Illinois Department of Insurance issued Company Bulletin #2020-08 applicable to all companies and other entities licensed to transact insurance business in the state of Illinois who issue or deliver policies for preneed funeral contracts or prearrangements to Illinois residents for payment of burial, funeral, creation, or other disposition of remains. The bulletin addresses the use of temporary death certificates as due proof of death in policies covering preneed funeral contracts and prearrangements. In an effort to reduce the delay in payments related to burial and funeral costs, the Illinois Department of Insurance asks all insurance companies doing business in Illinois to (1) consider accepting temporary death certificates as proof of death and to make such policy payment when a death has occurred in Illinois whether the death is COVID-19 related or otherwise; and (2) call the local county coroner or Cook County Medical Examiner to confirm that the cause of death was not homicide or suicide.
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.