Since April 13th, AG Healey’s Insurance & Financial Services Division has sent five letters to the DOI
In response to five different written requests from the Attorney General of Massachusetts’ Office with respect to COVID-19, the Division of Insurance sent a formal response on June 5, 2020. Primarily, after reminding the AG’s Office of the Division’s shared “commitment to consumer protection’, the letter goes on to emphasize the important role that insurance coverage plays in the stability of the Commonwealth’s economy.
The following are some excerpts from the letter:
“As the Commonwealth’s insurance regulator, the Division recognized early in the crisis that both consumers and businesses throughout Massachusetts may struggle with the many economic an resources challenges resulting from COVID-19. Since March, the Division has issued 17 Bulletins to ensure clarity and consistency across the market, instructing insurers to take all appropriate steps to meet the insurance needs of Massachusetts residents. Because providing accurate and unbiased information is fundamental to consumer protection, the Division also developed and posted to our website a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to assist individuals and businesses with navigating insurance issues related to COVID-19…
Since April 13, we have received five letters from your Insurance and Financial Services Division requesting that we take certain actions. as you may be aware, we had already worked to address the subject of each letter prior to its receipt. For example, the April 13 and May 12 letters requested that we direct insurers to reduce premiums for private passenger auto and commercial auto insurance, respectively, based on lower risk exposures resulting from decreases in miles traveled and the number of accidents. In anticipation of financial hardships that might be experienced by policyholders as a result of the public health crisis, the Division issued Bulletin 2020-05 (Flexibility in the Issuance and Administration of Insurance during COVID-19 [Coronavirus] Public Health Crisis on March 23.
Bulletin 2020-05 advised all insurers (whether issuing property and casualty, life and annuity, or health products) to provide policyholders with as much flexibility as possible during the period of the COVID-19 public health crisis to maintain their existing coverage, particularly in light of policyholders’ growing concerns about being able to pay their premium on time. The Division also engaged in discussions with insurers to develop programs to assist consumers with premium relief and additional coverage options (e.g. new endorsements for delivery drivers) and to encourage them to make filings that provide temporary premium relief during this emergency.
As a direct result of those conversations, by the time the Division received the April 13 letter, insurers representing 80% of the private passenger auto insurance market had already filed or identified that they would file to provide premium refunds or credits to policyholders. Also in response to Bulletin 2020-05, on March 31, Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers (CAR) issued guidance to Servicing Carriers for commercial auto insurance, discussing ways that insurers could implement flexibility for policyholders, including reductions in coverage…
In total, the Division has issued 17 Bulletins in response to perceived problems in the marketplace, we recognize our role is vital to ensuring a level playing field that does not take advantage of any segment of the population…
How to access the official letter and DOI Bulletins
For those interested in reading the official letter in its entirety, it is available for viewing and downloading via the first link below. All of the Division of Insurance 17 Bulletins issued can be accessed on the Massachusetts Division of Insurance website. Agency Checklists has also reported on a number of the Bulletins which can be accessed via the links below or on the Coronavirus in Massachusetts page featuring all of Agency Checklists articles relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- June 5, 2020: DOI Letter to Attorney General Maura Healey
- May 5, 2020: DOI Issues Bulletin Permitting Temporary Individual Insurance Producer Licenses During The COVID-19 Health Crisis
- April 14, 2020: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Commissioner Issues Another COVID-19 Bulletin On Testing & Reimbursements
- April 7, 2020: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: MA Division Of Insurance Issues Bulletins On Individual Insurance Licensing And Flexibility Regarding Certain Regulatory Filings
- March 31, 2020: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: MA Division Of Insurance Issues 5 New Coronavirus-Related Bulletins
- March 24, 2020: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Commissioner Of Insurance Issues Bulletin On Premium Collection Flexibility By Carriers During The Covid-19 Emergency
- March 17, 2020: Massachusetts DOI Approves Special Enrollment Period For Qualified Uninsured Individuals In The Connector In Response To COVID-19
- March 10, 2020: Mass. Commissioner Of Insurance Advises Health Insurers On Coronavirus Testing And Treatment