The Division of Insurance continues to respond to the COVID-19 crisis with two new Bulletins directed towards helping the insurance industry to operate without major disruptions during these uncertain times. The Bulletins, both issued on April 3rd, address two important areas for those working within the Massachusetts insurance industry, respectively.
The first, Bulletin 2020-12; Individual Insurance Licensing during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Health Crisis; Issued 04/03/2020 address how individual insurance licensing issues should be handled during the COVID-19 crisis while the second, Bulletin 2020-11; Flexibility for Compliance with Certain Filing Requirements in Light of COVID-19; Issued 04/03/2020 offers a series of measures regarding regulatory filings.
The following is a short synopsis of each Bulletin. To view the official document, please click on either headline which are linked to the full text.
Bulletin 2020-12; Individual Insurance Licensing during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Health Crisis; Issued 04/03/2020
This Bulletin implements the Governor’s March 18th Order Extending the Registrations of Certain Licensed Professionals and aims to address concerns that continuing education providers, as well as those holders of an individual insurance license in the Commonwealth, may have with respect to licensing during the COVID-19 public health crisis. This includes insurance producers, public insurance adjusters, surplus lines brokers, reinsurance intermediaries, and life settlement brokers.
In particular, the Bulletin discusses the measures that should be taken with respect to three main licensing concerns: Extension of Insurance Licenses, Continuing Education, and Licensing Exams and aims to ensure that all individual insurance license holders can continue to provide their significant services within the Commonwealth without interruption.
Of particular note, are a couple of items highlighted from the Bulletin:
- Pursuant to the Licensing Order, all individual insurance licenses ‘in good standing’ as of the date of the Emergency Declaration that expire during the state of emergency are extended and shall remain valid for a period of 90 days following the termination of the state of emergency.
- Any approved classroom courses being offered online during the state of emergency do not have to be re-filed for approval.
- Anyone with an existing appointment at a Prometric testing center will be contacted by Prometric to reschedule to the exam. Rescheduled exams will not take place until after April 16.
Bulletin 2020-11; Flexibility for Compliance with Certain Filing Requirements in Light of COVID-19; Issued 04/03/2020
Recognizing that the COVID-19 crisis “may present challenges to Massachusetts licensed insurers and other regulated entities in meeting certain regulatory filing requirements” the Division of Insurance has issued guidelines and relief with respect to certain regulatory filing requirements during the current public health crisis. Those entities that may be affected by this new flexibility afforded by this Bulletin include Insurance Companies, Health Maintenance Organizations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Inc., Fraternal Benefit Societies and Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance groups.
In particular, the Bulletin addresses various regulatory issues that may be affected by closures, particularly if personnel or other third-party service providers are unavailable to prepare and submit regulatory submissions:
- Notarization/Filing of Hard Copy Originals for Financial Statements
- Insurance Holding Company Filings
- Corporate Governance Annual Disclosures
- Audit/Internal Control Related Reports
- Insurer License Applications and Amendments
- Managed Care Accreditation Filing
- Mental Health Parity Annual Certification and Report
Additional Division of Insurance Bulletins regarding the COVID-19 public health crisis
The Massachusetts Division of Insurance has issued a number of Bulletins over the past month in response to the evolving COVID-19 public health crisis. For those who are interested in reviewing these documents please refer to the following:
- MA Division Of Insurance Issues 5 New Coronavirus-Related Bulletins
- Mass. Commissioner Of Insurance Issues Bulletin On Premium Collection Flexibility By Carriers During The COVID-19 Emergency
- Massachusetts DOI Approves Special Enrollment Period For Qualified Uninsured Individuals In The Connector In Response To COVID-19
- The Massachusetts Commissioner Of Insurance Advises Health Insurers On Coronavirus Testing And Treatment