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 22, Commissioner Lara issued a notice to all admitted insurers and surplus lines brokers, stating that any insurer or surplus line broker filing a premium tax return that requires the payment of less than $1 million (based on the 2019 Annual Tax Liability) is granted an automatic three month extension to file their return and to pay any required premium tax. Anyone that qualifies for the extension will also be relieved automatically from any penalty or interest that would otherwise apply. The automatic extension is effective as of March 30, 2020 and will remain in effect for any premium tax return or premium tax payment of less than $1 million due on or before July 31, 2020.
Idaho: On April 22, the Idaho Department of Insurance issued Bulletin No. 20-06, advising all authorized insurers 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 the Department. The Department is willing to allow insurers an additional 30 days to complete most filings (and 60 days for some). If an insurer needs an extension, they are asked to request a late filing extension. Additionally, hard copy, wet signature, and other 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.
Kansas: On April 22, Governor Kelly issued Executive Order No. 20-26, extending civil liability immunity to healthcare providers who issue clinical and triage decisions and render assistance, testing, or advice in the care of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Order also states that healthcare providers will not receive immunity for adverse events or injuries that are caused by their willful misconduct, gross negligence, recklessness, or bad faith.
Louisiana: The Louisiana Department of Insurance has rescinded Emergency Rule 42. The Rule which extended tax filing deadlines for quarterly tax statements and surplus lines tax reports until July 15, 2020 is null and void.
North Carolina: On April 21, the North Carolina Department of Insurance issued an Advisory to insurers on reporting and savings options for insurers sharing financial benefits with policyholders. The Advisory states that, the sharing of benefits with consumers should not be expensed and instructions on proper accounting of benefit sharing will be forthcoming. Additionally, insurers may offer policyholders a monetary benefit under the “savings” option of N.C.G.S. s 58-36-60. The savings must be received by insurers from an extraordinary event such as a pandemic limiting the number of drivers on the road.
North Carolina: On April 21, the North Carolina Department of Insurance issued a FAQ guidance regarding the Commissioner’s Order and Bulletin 20-B-06 issued on March 27, 2020 and the Commissioner’s Extended Order and Bulletin 20-B-07 issued on April 21, 2020. The FAQ provides clarification and corrections to the previously issued FAQs and, therefore, supersedes those previous documents. For specific questions about either Bulletin 20-B-06 or Bulletin 20-B-07, consumers are asked to review the FAQ.
North Dakota: On April 22, the North Dakota Department of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-09 applicable to resident insurance producers whose license expires on April 30, 2020. According to the Bulletin, while CE reporting deadlines are being extended, CE reporting is not being waived. The Bulletin also notes that while the CE compliance deadline is being extended for producers whose license expires, the producer license renewal deadline remains on April 30, 2020. Producers who have not met the CE requirements by April 30, 2020 will still need to submit their application electronically through National Insurance Producer Registry’s Producer Database, available at www.nipr.com.
Oregon: On April 23, the Oregon Consumer and Business Services Division of Financial Regulation issued a notice extending the order that directs all admitted insurers to institute grace periods for premium payment, suspends cancellations and nonrenewals, and extends deadlines for reporting claims. The Order is extended until May 23, 2020.
Property and Casualty Insurance
Oregon: On April 22, the Oregon Consumer and Business Services Division of Financial Regulation issued Bulletin 2020-11 to all auto insurers regarding rate reductions and rebates to auto insurance policyholders. The Bulletin provides guidance for insurers on how to inform the Division about proposed changes and required communications with policyholders. The Bulletin covers temporary changes to policy coverage, temporary rate reductions, and midterm policyholder payments. Among other things, the Bulletin states that insurers offering to remove exclusions or otherwise offer coverage on a temporary basis should file proposed endorsements or any revisions to policies through SERFF. However, insurers with previously approved endorsements planning to expand coverage do not need to file new forms. Additionally, insurers proposing to reduce rates should make requests through SERFF.
Texas: On April 22, The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) issued Commissioner’s Bulletin No. B-0023-20 to all Workers’ Compensation system participants, notifying participants that the DWC plans to issue interim recertification to Texas-licensed doctors with designated doctor (DD) and maximum medical improvement (MMI) impairment rating (IR) certifications that expire between March 27, 2020-August 31, 2020. The interim recertification will expire on December 31, 2020.
Wyoming: On April 22, the Wyoming Department of Insurance released a notice encouraging any Wyomingite unable to make a payment or facing financial duress because of COVID-19 to reach out to their insurance company as soon as possible. Consumers are urged to contact their auto insurance providers and request assistance with payments, or a reduction in the cost. Additionally, the notice discusses actions auto insurers have taken in the state to provide relief to insureds.
New York: On April 22, New York issued Supplement No. 1 to Insurance Circular Letter No. 8. Among other things, the Supplement directs health issuers to suspend preauthorization and concurrent review for outpatient services provided at hospitals until June 18, subject to further evaluation as the pandemic develops. Hospitals are still requested to use their best efforts to provide 48 hours’ notice to issuers after the provision of outpatient services. The Supplement also directs issuers not to conduct retrospective review for any services provided at in-network hospitals until June 18, subject to further evaluation as the pandemic develops, though there are exceptions for cases where issuers have evidence of fraudulent or abusive billing practices. The timeframes for issuers to conduct retrospective review of claims for fraud or abusive billing, or overpayment recovery will be extended for 90 days once retrospective review is resumed. Additionally, issuers are directed to “immediately process” for payment all undisputed outstanding claims for services rendered prior to March 7, and all claims for services rendered on or after March 7 until June 18, subject to further evaluation as the pandemic develops. Third party administrators are “strongly encouraged” to apply the Supplement’s guidance to their self-funded plans. The limits on prior authorization, concurrent, and retrospective review in the Supplement do not apply to most non-essential elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures.