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    COVID-19 Daily Insurance Regulatory Updates To Keep You Informed During The Lockdown (March 31st, 2020)

    Publications

    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

    Arkansas:  On March 27th, the Arkansas Department of Insurance  issued Bulletin No. 12-2020 to all admitted and surplus lines insurance carriers doing business in this state, and other interested parties, issuing a 60-day moratorium on the cancellation/non-renewal of personal lines insurance policies and directs all insures and regulated entities that personal lines insurance policies for Arkansas residents in effect on March 11,2020 remain in effect until such time as Emergency Order 20-03 expires.  This moratorium expands upon the March 20, 2020 moratorium issued by Bulletin No. 6-2020, which covered all insurance lines but was limited to policyholders who tested positive for COVID-19.

    Arkansas: On March 27th, the Arkansas Department of Insurance  issued Bulletin No. 11-2020 to all resident and non-resident Arkansas insurance agencies and producers, all licensed insures and approved surplus line insurers, licensed surplus lines brokers, health maintenance organizations, fraternal benefit societies, farmers’ mutual aid services corporations and other interested parties, regarding the extension of insurance producer license renewals and continuing education requirements. The Bulletin advises individual producers impacted by COVID-19 of the following:

    They will be given a 60-day extension to submit their producer renewal applications or pay renewal fees from March 11, 2020, the issue date of the governor's Executive Order 20-03;

    They can continue to operate as normal and their appointments will remain in effect;

    If they fail to renew their license by the extended expiration date, their license will expire and they will face fees and penalties; and

    If they have to complete continuing education hours by their renewal date, these hours will not be due until May 15, 2020.

    Delaware: On March 30th, Governor John Carney issued the Eighth Modification of the Declaration of a State of Emergency for the State of Delaware, clarifying that  “[n]o provision contained in [the Sixth] Order shall be construed as relieving any policyholder of the obligation to pay premium payments due an insured or to comply with other obligations that a policyholder may have pursuant to a covered insurance policy.”  The Sixth Order declared that insurers must cease cancellations and non-renewals of insurance policies due to nonpayment of premium.

    Georgia:  On March 31st, Insurance Commissioner John King issued Bulletin 20-EX-6 to all licensed insurance agents in the state, waiving in-person continuing education requirements through May 31st, 2020.

    Illinois: On March 31, the Illinois DOI released Company Bulletin #2020-06, concerning delays in filings and processing in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulletin directs entities or persons with business before the DOI to file documents electronically wherever possible. Where electronic filings are not an option, in addition to normal mailing procedures, licensees are directed to reach out to their assigned Department contact to determine a secure means of transmitting electronically. Anyone who has mailed a paper filing or inquiry to the Department in the past two weeks is requested to reach out to the appropriate contact so that the DOI can ensure that documents are processed in a timely manner.

    Maryland: On March 30th, Governor Lawrence Hogan Jr. issued Order 20-03-30-04, authorizing remote notarizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Maryland: On March 30th, the Maryland Insurance Administration issued Producer Licensing COVID-19 FAQs.  Guidance included includes how to renew a license, how to complete continued education requirements, and how long it takes to process online applications.

    Minnesota:  The Commerce Department issued guidance on insurance flexibility related to examinations of filings.  The guidance states, “[t]he Department has notified companies that are due for examinations as of December 31, 2019 as to timing of the start of the examination and requests for information. Given the shift of most workforces to remote work, we anticipate there may be a need to adjust previously communicated exam timelines to allow for completion of year-end  2019 company audits. There is a possibility that the Department may need to request more information in electronic form. In addition, the Department acknowledges that company response times may be slower as more company employees work from home.”

    Nebraska:  On March 31st, Director of Insurance Bruce Ramge issued a notice that the Department of Insurance will being issuing temporary resident producer licenses. The issuance of new temporary licenses will discontinue at such time as Prometric testing becomes available.

    New Hampshire:  On March 30th, Commissioner Christopher Nicolopoulos issued Bulletin No. 20-023, to all resident and non-resident RSA 402-J Insurance Producers, extending the deadline for March 31, 2020 and April 30, 2020 RSA 402-J license renewals by a period of two months.

    New Mexico: On March 26th, Superintendent Russell Toal issued Bulletin 2020-007 to all domestic insurers, all non-domestic insurers with offices in New Mexico, and all producers with offices in New Mexico, reminding essential businesses, such as insurance, to adhere to public health “social distancing” guidelines.

    North Carolina:  On March 27th, North Carolina issued Bulletin 20-B-06 to all insurance companies and other entities licensed under Chapter 58 of the North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS), notifying insurers that the Insurance Commissioner has issued an order activating the state of disaster automatic stay of proof of loss requirements, and premium and debt deferrals in North Carolina as authorized under the provisions of Section 58-2-46 of the NCGS.

    Pennsylvania:  On March 30th, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman issued a press release cautioning Pennsylvania’s insurance licensees that in-person sales and brokerage are prohibited by Governor Wolf’s order closing all non-life sustaining businesses in the Commonwealth to slow the spread COVID-19.  The Department intends to pursue disciplinary action against any licensee that violates the order.

    Tennessee:  On March 30th, Governor Bill Lee issued Executive Order No. 22, directing all Tennesseans to stay home unless engaging in essential activities to limit their exposure to COVID-19.  Insurance is defined under essential activities in Attachment A to the Order (Financial Institutions and Insurance Entities).  The Order goes into effect on March 31, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CDT and expires on April 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. CDT.

    Property and Casualty Insurance

    Alaska: On March 28th, the Alaska Legislature passed SB 241 which among other things, establishes COVID-19 as an occupational disease for firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, peace officers, and health care providers.  Coverage for compensation is retroactive to March 11, 2020.  According to the APCIA website, APCIA has sent a letter to Alaska Governor Dunleavy expressing their concern with the workers compensation provision.

    Massachusetts: On March 27th, the Commissioner of Insurance Gary Anderson issued Bulletin 2020-08 to all insurance carriers, surplus lines carriers, and risk retention groups offering medical malpractice coverage in Massachusetts,  providing guidance on the Division’s expectations regarding steps Medical Malpractice Carriers are to take to help address concerns about medical professional liability/medical malpractice coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Carriers are asked to review their existing coverage and ensure coverage provides flexibility where needed and /or to file or add endorsements to their existing policies to ensure that existing coverage will apply to health care professionals who are acting within the scope of their professional license when they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Michigan:  On March 30th, The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity issued Emergency Rules stating that first response employees diagnosed with COVID-19 are considered to have a compensable workers’ compensation claim. The went into effect on March 30, 2020, and remains effective for six months.

    New York (applies to Life Insurance as well):  On March 30th, the NY DFS adopted emergency regulation following the issuance of Executive Order 212.13 mandating the deferral of premium payments for life and property and casualty insurance.  The press release noted the following:  “DFS requires life insurance and annuity contract issuers to provide the following relief to policyholder or certificate holder (consumer) who can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19:

    • Extend to 90 days the grace period for the payment of premiums and fees to ensure that the policyholder’s or certificate holder’s life insurance policy or certificate does not lapse for non-payment during the 90-day period;
    • Waive late payment fees otherwise due, and not report late payments to credit rating agencies, during the 90-day period;
    • Allow premiums due but not paid during the 90-day period to be paid over the course of the following year in 12 equal monthly installments; and
    • Extend to 90 days the period to exercise policyholder and contract holder rights and benefits under life insurance and annuity contracts.

    DFS requires property and casualty insurers to provide the following relief to consumers and small businesses who can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19:

    • Provide a 60-day grace period for the cancellation, conditional renewal or non-renewal of a policyholder’s insurance policy;
    • Allow premiums due but not paid during the 60-day period to be paid over the course of the following year in 12 equal monthly installments; and
    • Waive any late payment fees, and not report late payments to credit rating agencies, during the 60-day period.”

    Premium finance agencies are required to provide the same relief as insurers.

    New York:   The New York Workers' Compensation Board issued a notice stating, “[p]ursuant to Executive Order 202.13, and effective March 30, 2020, that all Workers’ Compensation, Disability and Paid Family Leave benefits insurance carriers are directed to cease cancelling, non-renewing, or conditionally renewing any insurance policy issued to an individual or small business, or in the case of a group insurance policy, insuring certificate holders that are individuals or small businesses, for a period of 60 days, for any policyholder, or in the case of a group insurance policy, group policyholder or certificate holder where such policyholder and or certificate holder is facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The notice remains in effect for 60 days consistent with Executive Order 202.13 through April 28, 2020.

    Pennsylvania:  On March 31st, the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance issued a notice to all insurers writing automobile insurance, personal and commercial, within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 pandemic, directing insurers to apply policy provisions consistent with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation guidance surrounding license expiration dates, and encouraging additional flexibility in meeting the needs of policyholders, among other things.

    Texas: On March 27th, the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) issued Bulletin B-0012-20 to all Texas workers’ compensation system participants suspending certain provisions of the Labor Code and Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) rules related to workers’ compensation. Governor Abbott approved DWC’s request to suspend the following requirements:

    • work search compliance standards for supplemental income benefits under Labor Code Section 408.1415(a) and 28 Texas Administrative Code Section 130.102(d);
    • testing, training, and application requirements for designated doctor and maximum medical improvement and impairment rating recertification under 28 TAC Sections 127.110(b)(1) and (3),                                                               127.110(d), and 180.23; and
    • required medical exams under 28 TAC Section 126.6(a).

    Texas:  On March 30th, the Texas Department of Insurance issued guidance that the Department is expediting approvals for all property and casualty filings that provide additional coverage or relief to policyholders during the COVID-19 outbreaks.  Property and casualty companies filing changes in response to the COVID-19 outbreak should notify the Department at PropertyCasualty@tdi.texas.gov or 512-676-6710 to ensure the filing is quickly flagged and reviewed.

    Health Insurance

    Alaska: On March 27th, the Alaska Division of Insurance issued Bulletin B 20-11 to all insurers authorized to transact health insurance in the state, providing guidance on requirements for group health plans, claims and telehealth related to COVID-19.  The Bulletin discusses employer plans regulated by Title 21, claim submissions and appeals, additional telehealth guidance, access to prescriptions, and fraud and abuse.

    Arizona: On March 25th, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order 2020-15, requiring health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit. The order helps ensure that Arizonans who may be sick or under quarantine can access care from their homes and avoid potentially risky trips to a health care provider. It remains in effect until the termination of the declared public health emergency.

    Arkansas:  On March 27th, the Arkansas Department of Insurance  issued Bulletin No. 13-2020 to all licensed insurers, health maintenance organizations, fraternal benefit societies, farmers’ mutual aid associations or companies, hospital medical service corporations, and other interested parties, reminding all health insurance carriers offering health insurance plans, including short-term limited-duration insurance plans, regulated by the Department that they must comply with the reimbursement requirements for healthcare services provided through telemedicine found in Ark. Code Ann. § 23-79-1602(c) and (d).

    California: On March 30th, Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued guidance stating that the CDI expects health insurers will provide increased access to health care services through telehealth delivery platforms and encourage patients to use telehealth delivery options, so as to limit the amount of in-person health care they seek while continuing to receive the essential care that they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Colorado:  On March 27th, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies issued Bulletin No. B-4. 105, to provide guidance to all carrier offering small and large group health benefit plans, and grandfathered health benefit plans that are subject to the insurance laws of Colorado. The Bulletin directs carriers offering such plans take the following actions, among other things; make reasonable accommodations to prevent businesses and employees from losing coverage due to non-payment of premium, make reasonable accommodations for employer requests to provide flexibility for health coverage to employees who are laid off or have reduced hours, facilitate the continuation of coverage, and allow for special enrollment.  In addition to the Bulletin, the Department released a Small and Large Employer FAQ.

    Illinois:  On March 31, the Illinois DOI released Company Bulletin #2020-05, concerning renewals of existing transitional health plans for plan year 2021. As a follow-up on CMS guidance issued on January 31, 2020 entitled “Extended Non-Enforcement of Affordable Care Act – Compliance With Respect to Certain Policies”, the Bulletin allows extension of the transitional policy to policy years beginning on or before October 1, 2021, provided all polices come into compliance by January 1, 2022.

    Texas (applies to Life Insurance as well):  On March 27th, The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) issued Bulletin B-0015-20 to all insurers licensed to write life and accident and health insurance, health maintenance organizations, and health care providers, reminding insurance companies, health maintenance organizations, and health providers that the Texas Insurance Code and TDI rules allow providers to toll the deadline by which they must submit claims under the state’s prompt payment laws.

    Vermont: The Vermont Department of Financial Services issued Emergency Rule H-2020-02-E, regarding the coverage of health care services delivered through telehealth, telephone, or store and forward means.  The purpose of the Rule expand patients’ access to and providers’ reimbursement for health care services via telehealth. The regulation remains in effect for the duration of Vermont's state of emergency.

    Life Insurance

    See New York entry under Property and Casualty.

    See Texas entry under Health Insurance.

    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.

    The post COVID-19 Daily Insurance Regulatory Updates To Keep You Informed During The Lockdown (March 31st, 2020) appeared first on Insurance & Reinsurance.

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