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
Delaware: On April 6th, Governor John Carney issued the Tenth Modification of the Declaration of the State of Emergency regarding the COVID-19 crisis. The Modification, among other things, suspends certain requirements for telemedicine and telehealth, and allows for remote meetings of corporate stockholders.
Indiana: On April 6th, Governor Eric Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-18, advising persons engaged in professional services, such as insurance services, to conduct business virtually or by telephone unless the lack of an in-person encounter will have a significant adverse impact on the client’s financial or legal position. Additionally, the Order, among other things, adds retail businesses to the list of essential businesses, and advises employers to comply with safety and health standards to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Order replaces Executive Order 20-08. This Order is effective until April 20, 2020.
Kentucky: On April 7, the Kentucky DOI released Bulletin 2020-02. Pursuant to the Bulletin, the DOI announced that certain filings will be accepted 30-60 days later than their normal due date. The Bulletin also announces that certain hard copy and original signature requirements are being temporarily waived, though companies are expected to keep a list of all filings that were made electronically in lieu of hard copy filings so that they can file all the hard copies within 60 days after Kentucky has allowed a return to work.
Maine: On April 8th, Governor Janet Mills issued Executive Order 37, authorizing remote, not electronic, notarization. All requirements under Maine law pertaining to the taking of sworn statements and acknowledgments by notaries and those authorized to perform notarial acts, other than the requirement to appear in person, remain in effect during the effective period of the Order.
Mississippi: On April 7, MID released Bulletin 2020-6. Pursuant to the Bulletin MID is allowing initial applicants who have completed all pre-licensing requirements except for the pre-licensing state examination to receive a temporary insurance producer license, which is effective for 180 days.
Nebraska: On April 8, 2020 the Nebraska Department of Insurance (“NDOI”) published a notice taking immediate effect to all insurance companies licensed to write business in Nebraska regarding complying with regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency. At this time, companies are still required to make all required electronic filings with the NAIC (i.e., quarterly financial statements and audited financial statements). However, NDOI is willing to consider companies’ written request for late filing, but reserves the right to reject any such individual company request. Regarding filing requirements, hard copy and original signature filing requirements are currently waived during the Governor’s emergency declaration, but companies are expected to keep a list of all filings that were made electronically in lieu of hard filings so that they can eventually file all hard copies within 30 days after being notified by the NDOI. Companies are also encouraged to utilize maximum flexibility in rescheduling meetings or allowing alternatives to in-person policyholder or stockholder meetings. Lastly, the NDOI stated that it will not conduct any on site examination work that is contrary to the spirit of any public health directive and so, the NDOI may need to request more information from companies in electronic form.
New Mexico: On April 6th, Governor Grisham issued Executive Order 2020-022 extending the expiration date to April 30, 2020 for Executive Order 2020-04 (proclaiming a statewide public health emergency) and Executive Orders 2020-006 to 2020-11, and 2020-13 to- 2020-020.
New York: On April 3rd, Senate Bill 7506-B/Assembly Bill 9506-B was signed into law, effective as of March 7th. The law provides civil and criminal immunity to health care facilities and professionals for any harm alleged to have resulted from services provided to an individual with COVID-19 under conditions resulting from circumstances associated with the public health emergency. The law follows New York Emergency Order No. 202.10: (Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency), which provided “that all physicians, physician assistants, specialist assistants, nurse practitioners, licensed registered professional nurses and licensed practical nurses shall be immune from civil liability for any injury or death alleged to have been sustained directly as a result of an act or omission by such medical professional in the course of providing medical services in support of the State’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Property and Casualty Insurance
Louisiana: The Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation adopted an Emergency Rule that adds new CPT codes for providers rendering telehealth/telemedicine care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Rule shall apply to any and all other workers’ compensation insurance related entities defined as “carrier” in LAC 40:I.103 or licensed by the commissioner or doing business in Louisiana.
Maine: On April 7th, Superintendent Eric Cioppa issued Bulletin 443 directed to property casualty insurers, producers with property or casualty authority, surplus lines insurers, and surplus lines brokers. The Bulletin states, “no admitted or surplus lines insurer may use COVID-19 as a reason to attempt to narrow or cancel the coverage of a policy already in effect. Any such attempt will be considered a violation of Maine’s Trade Practices and Frauds law.” Additionally, “the emerging threat of COVID-19 may not be treated as a ‘substantial change in the risk’ justifying policy termination or unilateral policy modification when the exposure to COVID-19 is coincidental to risks that the policy already covers.” The Bulletin was issued in response to the Superintendent becoming aware of insurers notifying policyholders that their policies will not cover COVID-19 risks.
Minnesota: On April 7th, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed H.B. 4537, which provides workers’ compensation for first responders who contract COVID-19 on the job. The law provides a rebuttable presumption for a first responder who contracts COVID-19, confirmed by a laboratory test or diagnosed by a licensed physician, physician’s assistant or advanced practice nurse if a test is not available.
Virginia: On April 7th, Commissioner Scott White issued guidance asking all property and casualty insurers to consider making rate filings that provide temporary relief to insureds during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The guidance states, “these filings may include premium discounts for specific perils or coverages, as well as any other appropriate reduction in premium commensurate with the reduced exposure, such as reduced driving, reduced liability, or reduced property exposures. Insurers writing private passenger automobiles may also use their suspension of insurance rule/form to accommodate insureds who are not using one or more their vehicles.” Additionally, insurers whose filed rules provide that credit scores will be obtained more frequently than every three years should consider altering the frequency of obtaining insurance credit scores for the duration of the pandemic.
Washington: On April 3rd, Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-41, which temporarily waives and suspends statutes pertaining to the expiration and renewal of personal and commercial driver licenses. The Proclamation, states that the Department of Licensing (“DOL”) is currently experiencing difficulty in adequately staffing and supplying various administrative and operational activities, including the ability of the DOL to meet the demand for driver’s license renewal. The Proclamation stays in effect until midnight on May 3, 2020.
Washington: The Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner (“OIC”) has updated its Frequently Asked Questions page regarding Emergency Order 2020-03 regarding grace periods for nonpayment of premium and temporarily prohibiting cancellation. The FAQ was originally published March 25th.
New York: On April 8, on an emergency basis, the New York State Department of Financial Services issued a new emergency regulation (Regulation 62), which requires health plans to defer the payment of insurance premiums due under individual and small group commercial health insurance plans through June 1st for consumers and businesses experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pursuant to the regulation, DFS is also requiring individual and small group commercial health insurance plans to waive late payment fees otherwise due, and not report late payments to credit rating agencies, and to work with individuals to help them transition to new coverage, if appropriate. DFS also announced that it will consider any liquidity or solvency concerns of health plans in giving effect to the emergency regulation.
Pennsylvania: On April 8, the PID issued Notice 2020-8, which is directed to all volunteer physicians, podiatrists and certified nurse midwives practicing within Pennsylvania under a reactivated license. The Notice provides guidance on the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error Fund’s expectations of limits of professional medical malpractice insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.