N.J. Insurers, Regulated Entities Urged to Assist Marcal Employees Affected by Fire

February 20, 2019

New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Marlene Caride last week issued a bulletin encouraging insurers and entities regulated by the department to work with and assist employees of the Marcal paper products facility who lost their jobs after a massive fire destroyed the historic factory.

The bulletin has been issued to all insurers, banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders and brokers, consumer lenders, insurance producers, real estate brokers and any other person or entity subject to licensure or regulation by the department.

The department is encouraging these entities to take into consideration the difficulties these individuals are facing and will continue to face until they begin to receive benefits or obtain other employment.

Last month’s fire left the factory in ruins and nearly 500 workers unemployed. The state is taking steps to assist displaced employees with getting benefits and seeking new employment. Earlier this month, several state agencies participated in a resources fair and a job fair for affected employees where they provided information about unemployment benefits, health care coverage options and other resources.

“The fire that ravaged the Marcal plant was catastrophic,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in a Department of Banking and Insurance press release. “While we are thankful that no one was hurt, we now have nearly 500 people who suddenly find themselves without work. This is an incredibly difficult situation for these individuals and their families. The state has mobilized to assist these employees. We are asking banks, insurance companies and related entities to consider the circumstances and work with these individuals during this difficult time. Part of the recovery must include making sure affected workers are not harmed further because the jobs they once had no longer exist.”

The Department is specifically encouraging the entities and individuals it regulates to assist those affected by taking actions such as relaxing due dates for premium payments, extending grace periods, waiving late fees and penalties, allowing forbearance with regard to the cancellation/non-renewal of policies, allowing payment plans for premium payments and exercising judicious efforts to assist affected policyholders and work with them to make sure that their insurance policies do not lapse.

Marlene Caride

It is also asking for banking entities to consider relaxing due dates for loan and mortgage payments, extending grace periods, modifying terms on existing loans, easing credit card limits, extending new credit, waiving late fees and other fees, allowing customers to defer or skip payments and delaying the submission of delinquency notices to credit bureaus.

“The fire that destroyed the Marcal plant has left hundreds of workers unemployed and has put their livelihoods in limbo,” Caride said in the release. “This may affect their ability to pay their insurance coverage, mortgages and other loans, on top of their basic living expenses. The department strongly urges banks, insurance companies and other entities that it regulates to consider the financial strains facing these workers and their families and to work with them until they are able to receive new benefits and secure new employment.”

Source: New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance

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