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 16, the Arizona Department of Insurance issued Regulatory Bulletin 2020-04 encouraging insurers to support insureds during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulletin urges insurers to work with their insureds in order to maintain continuing coverage by providing relief in the following ways:
- Refraining from cancelling or non-renewing policies due to non-payment during this time of hardship;
- Granting a grace period for premium payments to be made when practicable, or extending the time before nonpayment of premium triggers an applicable grace period;
- Working with insureds on premium payment plans for late premium payments;
- Waiving late fees, interest, and penalties;
- Delaying premium increases;
- Suspending the use of credit reports for rating;
- Refraining from cancelling auto policies due to deferred expiration of driver’s license pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-08;
- Extending timeframes for health providers to submit claims;
- Extending timeframes for policyholder s to replace or repair in order to ensure recovery of withheld depreciation; and
- Extending timeframes to undergo medical examinations.
Florida: On April 17, the Chief Financial Officer of Florida issued CFO Directive 20-07, suspending examination requirement for qualified applicants for insurance agent licensure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maryland: On April 17, the Maryland Insurance Administration (“MIA”) issued an FAQ on producer licensing in connection with COVID-19. The FAQ provides common questions and answers for producers so that they can understand how the MIA interprets various licensing issues in connection with the pandemic. Also, on April 14, the MIA Examination and Audit Unit issued an FAQ that addresses filing deadline extensions and the need to use wet signatures, as well as paper filing requirements.
Massachusetts: On April 17, the Governor of Massachusetts signed Senate Bill 2640 into law, providing liability protections for health care workers and facilities. The Bill declares that health care professionals and health care facilities are immune from civil liability for any damages alleged to have been sustained by an act or omission by the health care professional or health care facility in the course of providing health care services during the period of the COVID-19 emergency.
New York: On April 13, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued guidance reminding NY DFS regulated entities that its Cybersecurity Regulation (23 NYCRR Part 500) requires assessment of cybersecurity risk, and the reporting of certain cybersecurity events within 72 hours, the DFS issued guidance specific to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The DFS guidance is appropriate for any business, whether or not subject to the NY Regulation. The DFS also warned of heightened cyber risks in the current environment as criminals seek to exploit the situation. Please see our full write up here.
North Dakota: On April 20, Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread announced the availability of an online, remotely proctored testing application called ProProctor™, offered by Prometric, the producer licensing testing and assessment provider for North Dakota. Individuals who want to sell insurance in North Dakota must first pass an exam administered by Prometric. Licensing exams have previously only been offered in-person at physical locations.
Pennsylvania: Recently, Pennsylvania legislators introduced S.B. 1114, the COVID-19 Insurance Relief Act, to provide assistance to policyholders seeking coverage under their business interruption insurance policies. S.B. 1114, is different than the business interruption insurance legislation proposed in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Ohio. The Bill differs in the following ways; the Bill applies to commercial policyholders of all sizes; it does not create a state reimbursements fund for insurers providing business interruption payments that would be financed by the states’ insurance commissioners making subsequent assessments on property/casualty insurers doing business within those states; it provides relevant definitions of phrases commonly used in business interruption policies such as “property damage” and “civil authority order”; and it includes detailed legislative findings within the text of the bill to support the constitutionality of the legislation.
Pennsylvania: On April 17, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania found that COVID-19 must be treated similarly to natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Additionally, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of action taken by the state’s governor to shutdown “non-life sustaining” businesses and said the order was the only effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19.
South Carolina: On April 17, the South Carolina Department of Insurance (Department) issued Bulletin 2020-04, providing guidance for all licensees, including guaranty fund associations, surplus line insurers and other persons registered or authorized to operate in the state, regarding the South Carolina Insurance Data Security act and the requirements of licensees to exercise and implement effective risk management in their relationships with third party service providers.
South Dakota: On April 17, the South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation issued Bulletin 20-03, providing for the issuance of temporary insurance producer licenses subject to certain stipulations.
Property and Casualty Insurance
Rhode Island: On April 17, the Rhode Island Division of Workers’ Compensation issued Information Letter 2020-03, assigning a temporary fee schedule reimbursement rates for telemedicine.
South Carolina: On April 20, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission issued a notice extending the suspension of in-person hearings until May 15, 2020.
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.