North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has asked the state’s insurance companies to be economically flexible with consumers in light of the COVID-19 health emergency.
“Some of the mitigating efforts implemented on a state and local level to limit further spread of the virus have had a significant economic impact on consumers,” said Causey said in a statement Tuesday. “Many consumers have lost their jobs or had their hours reduced, which may adversely affect the ability of these individuals to make timely payment for monetary obligations, including payments for insurance premiums.”
As a result, Causey has asked the state’s insurance industry to consider taking several actions, including:
- Relax due dates for premiums payments.
- Extend grace periods.
- Waive late fees and penalties.
- Allow payment plans for premiums payments to otherwise avoid a lapse in coverage.
- Consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting other efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage
In addition, Causey is requesting that all insurance agents, brokers, and other licensees who accept premium payments on behalf of insurers take steps to ensure that customers are able to make premium payments in safe manner. This should include online payments or other alternative methods to eliminate the need for in-person payment options to protect the safety of workers and customers.
Causey has also requested that Governor Roy Cooper determine that financial services, including insurance services, be deemed essential businesses that will remain open to the public throughout the COVID-19 health emergency.
“This designation, if approved, will allow consumers to have access to their insurance agents at all times during this critical period,” Causey said. “Consumers and businesses will need easy access to insurance services during this time sensitive emergency to make claims, purchase or renew policies, make payments and discuss coverage issues.”
Causey requested insurance services remain open if and when Gov. Roy Cooper declares a “Shelter in Place” order. This means consumers will have access to speak with a licensed agent or adjuster at all times to determine the next step.
Causey said the NCDOI will continue to operate to serve citizens during a “Shelter in Place” declaration.
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Source: North Carolina Department of Insurance
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