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
Arizona: On April 14th, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-29 regarding increased telemedicine access for workers’ compensation. The Order, among other things, requires workers compensation insurance plans to provide coverage for all healthcare services that can be provided through telemedicine if the healthcare service would be covered were it provided through an in-person visit between the injured worker and a healthcare provider. Additionally, workers compensation insurance plans must allow all electronic means of delivering telehealth, including telephone and video calls. The Order contains other provisions related to the increase in access for telemedicine.
Delaware: On April 15th, Governor John Carney issued the Eleventh Modification of the Declaration of the State of Emergency regarding the COVID-19 crisis, extending the public state of emergency until further notice. Additionally, the Modification authorizes the use of remote notarization subject to certain restrictions.
Ohio: Effective April 15, the Ohio Department of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-08 with the purpose of notifying the insurance industry, including applicants, agents, and insurers, that the Superintendent has determined that it is in the public interest to issue temporary resident agent licenses during the Stay at Home Order issued by the Director of the Ohio Department of Health. The Department determined that public interest will be best served by issuing licenses to individuals who meet certain criteria, and in accordance with R.C. 3905.09(A)(4), the Superintendent will issue temporary major line resident agent licenses (“temporary licenses”) to qualifying individuals. A temporary license will only be issued after the Superintendent is satisfied that the applicant has submitted a complete application, including an “Insurer Sponsor Acknowledgement” completed by a qualified sponsor; and meets all of the temporary license conditions.
Tennessee: On April 13th, Commissioner Mainda issued Bulletin No. 20-06 advising insurance companies regarding compliance with regulatory requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulletin reminds companies that they are still required to make all mandated electronic filings with the NAIC, as well as those that are not filed with the NAIC but filed with Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. The Department is willing to allow insurers an additional 30 days to complete most filings (and 60 days for some), but the Department must receive a request for late filing. Additionally, the hard copy and notary requirements for filings have been temporarily waived. The Department will accept electronic fillings and signatures. The Department will not conduct any on-site examination work during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Instead, the Department will conduct all scheduled examinations remotely until further notice.
Virginia: On April 14th, Commissioner Scott White issued Administrative Letter 2020-02, advising insurance companies regarding financial filing requirements during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The Bureau of Insurance will grant an additional 30 or 60 days to complete the filings listed in the chart attached to the Bulletin. Companies are however required to request an extension in writing prior to the filing deadline. Additionally, the hard copy and notary requirements for filings have been temporarily waived. The Bureau will accept electronic fillings and signatures. The Bureau will not conduct any on-site examination work during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Instead, the Bureau will conduct all scheduled examinations remotely until further notice.
Wisconsin: On April 15th, Wisconsin Governor Evers signed into law 2019 Wisconsin Act 185, related to the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response. The Bill includes a workers compensation provision stating that an injury caused to a first responder (that is diagnosed or has tested positive for COVID-19), is presumed to be caused by the individual’s employment. Additionally the Bill has provisions related to a civil liability exemption for persons who manufacture, distribute or sell emergency medical supplies, immunity from civil liability for health care professionals and providers and employees, agents, or contractors of those professionals or providers, and liability insurance coverage for physicians and nurse anesthetists who are temporarily authorized to practice in Wisconsin due to COVID-19 response.
Property and Casualty Insurance
Alaska: On April 15th, the Alaska Division of Insurance issued Order R20-03 regarding premium relief for policyholders. The Order permits property and casualty insurers to allow policyholders to self-audit and self-report. Reductions in premium or retroactive refunds of premium made in good faith pursuant to the Order to accommodate COVID-19 related changes in exposure or risk will not be considered a rebate or unfair discrimination to the extent they are reasonable and consistently applied.
Illinois: On April 15th, the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission issued a bulletin regarding a revision to the emergency rule adopted to afford the full protections of the Workers’ Compensation Act to first responders and essential front-line workers. The revisions clarifies that the scope of employees covered by the emergency rule is broad.
Kentucky: On April 15th, the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims issued guidance clarifying Executive Order 2020-277, which provides temporary total disability benefits for workers removed from work by a physician due to workplace exposure to COVID-19.
Connecticut: On April 15th, Commissioner Andrew Mais announced that front-line health care workers in Connecticut and Massachusetts may soon be eligible to receive up to $25,000 of life insurance at no cost. According to the Connecticut Department of Insurance press release, the Connecticut Insurance Department has expedited approval of HealthBridge, a new Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) life insurance product that offers no-cost, guaranteed issue policies to front-line health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new coverage allows healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic to directly enroll for a no-premium payment 3-year term life insurance policy with a $25,000 death benefit for issue ages 18-50. Workers with issue ages 51 to 60 will receive a no-cost $10,000 death benefit. Additionally, the press release states that eligible individuals must be employed at a licensed hospital, urgent care center, or with an emergency medical services provider and have exposure to COVID-19 patients. All active employees of licensed hospitals, urgent care centers or emergency medical services in Massachusetts and Connecticut whose jobs may involve occupational exposure to the virus are eligible for the 3-year term life policies. In addition to doctors and nurses; lab technicians, custodial staff, maintenance crews, cafeteria workers, and security personnel will also be considered for coverage.