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

California: On April 6th,  Commission Ricardo Lara issued a notice providing guidance to entities licensed by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) regarding compliance with regulatory filing requirements during the duration of the public health emergency.  During the duration of the public health emergency, California licensed entities are strongly encouraged to file required forms electronically via the Online Assistance System for Insurer Submittals (“OASIS”) or, for corporate affairs applications, via email submission to [email protected]. In addition, CDI will accept electronic  signatures/certification/notarization during the pandemic. The filing and submittal requirements will remain in effect until 90 days after the termination of the California-wide “shelter-in-place” order.

Connecticut:  On April 5th, Governor Ned Lamont issued Executive Order 7U, providing any health care professional or health care facility protection from civil liability for actions or omissions in support of the state’s COVID-19 Response. The Order states, “that any health care professional or health care facility will be immune from suit for civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been sustained because of the individual’s or health care facility’s acts or omissions undertaken in good faith while providing health care services in support of the State’s COVID-19 response.” The immunity does not extend to acts or omissions that constitute a crime, fraud, malice, gross negligence, willful misconduct, or would otherwise constitute a false claim or prohibited act under Connecticut law.

Louisiana:  The Louisiana Department of Insurance issued Emergency Rule 43, authorizing the issuance of temporary licenses to applicants seeking an adjuster license. This rule expires on May 15, 2020, unless extended or terminated sooner.

Maryland: On April 7, the MIA issued Bulletin 20-19, which concerns quarterly estimated premium taxes that are due on April 15. The Bulletin announces that, although the Commissioner does not have the authority to amend premium tax payment due date, the Commissioner will exercise discretion and waive penalties and interest for late payments if an insurer is unable to make timely payment because the pandemic has impacted the operation of the company’s premium tax administrative offices. Insurers should be prepared to submit documentation upon request. The waiver of penalties and interest will be effective through June 1, unless amended by a subsequent bulletin.

New York:  On April 6th, the Excess Lines Association of New York (ELANY) issued revised Bulletin No. 2020-17, clarification on cancellation/non-renewal moratorium, premium payment grace period and notices.  The Bulletin states that, “[New York Department of Financial Services] has confirmed to ELANY that the moratorium, premium payment grace period and notice requirements do not apply to commercial excess line policies and policyholders.”  The requirements do apply to personal excess line policies and policyholders.

Rhode Island: On April 6, Rhode Island issued Bulletin 2020-5. Bulletin 2020-5 clarifies that Executive Order 20-06, effective as of March 18, 2020, provides that all insurers, regardless of the type of insurance written, should allow and pay for telemedicine services in accordance with guidance issued by the Rhode Island Office of Health Insurance Commissioner.

Property and Casualty Insurance

Colorado:  On April 6th, the Colorado Division of Insurance issued Bulletin No. B-5.39 providing guidance to all insurers issuing property and casualty policy forms and offering discounts or premium relief during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Insurers choosing to implement a discount or premium relief action during the pandemic must submit a filing to the Property and Casualty Rates & Forms Section. The filing is file and use and may be implemented the day it is filed. The Bulletin states, “[s]ince statistical/actuarial justification may not be immediately available, sufficient explanation detailing the actuarial assumptions and underwriting judgment the insurer used and relied upon to determine the amount, recipients, and duration of the discount or premium relief action, and any other relevant criteria and considerations should be included. The filing should address:

  • Support/justification for any discounts or premium relief actions, including a thorough explanation of the actuarial judgment, underwriting judgment, and any assumptions used to support/justify each such          discount or premium relief; a definition and explanation of those to receive each discount or premium relief action; the amount of each discount or premium relief action; and a definition or explanation of the      duration of each discount or premium relief action, including the length of the policy term and the number of policy terms each discount or premium relief action applies
  • Explanation of how the insurer will ensure that the discounts or premium relief action do not result in dissimilar treatment or unfair subsidization.”

Colorado:  On April 6th, the Colorado Division of Insurance issued Bulletin No. B-5.40 encouraging all insurers issuing private passenger automobile and/or claims made policy forms to adjust their method of document delivery from the mailing of documents to electronic delivery of documents to policyholders.  Additionally, the Bulletin allows insurers to file an electronic delivery consent form without the required 31 days advanced filing.

Connecticut:  On April 6th, the Connecticut Insurance Department issued a notice urging all Connecticut automobile insurers to consider offering an immediate reduction in premiums to reflect the reduced exposure to automobile accidents.

Oklahoma:  On April 6th, Commissioner Glen Mulready issued amended PC Bulletin No. 2020-01, updating COVID-19 guidance for all property and casualty insurers licensed in Oklahoma.  The updated guidance directs insurers to take certain actions, while the previous guidance was a recommendation.  For example, the Bulletin replaces the word “should” with “shall” when referencing insurers’ responsibilities to review their internal processes and extend applicable grace periods for the payment of premiums, among other things.

Health Insurance

Maine: On April 6, the Maine Bureau of Insurance issued a Supplemental Order regarding deferral of premium deadlines. The Order provides, among other things, that for individual policyholders receiving Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC), carriers on the Health Insurance Marketplace must postpone the commencement of the premium grace period until at least June 1 for all policyholders receiving APTC who fail to pay premium when due. For any policyholder receiving APTC who is currently in a grace period, the carrier must terminate that grace period by unconditionally withdrawing the notice of cancellation and unconditionally reinstating coverage. For all other individual and group policyholders, until at least June 1 carriers must provide relief from cancellation to any individual policyholder not receiving APTC and to any small or large group policyholder, if the policyholder applies to the carrier for such relief and certifies that the policyholder’s inability to make timely premium payment was the result of hardship arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Washington: On April 3, the Washington OIC issued Emergency Order 20-04, which requires all entities offering standalone dental plans certified by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange as qualified dental plans in effect or expiring during the period of Washington’s state of emergency to allow a grace period for payment of premiums of no less than 60 days. The Order requires plans to pay all claims for services that are rendered to enrollees during the first 30 days of the grace period.

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.