For Benefits Compliance specific state updates for Massachusetts click here.
Division of Insurance Issues Bulletin Concerning Cancellation of Policies Due to Nonpayment
On March 23, 2020, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-05 to all carriers (including property and casualty, life and annuity, or health products) requesting the insurers to provide individuals and businesses with flexibility during this crisis to maintain their existing coverage, including the following:
- Explain grace periods that usually allow stressed policy holders experiencing significant financial hardship to delay payments without coverage being terminated
- Work with employers or individuals experiencing financial hardships to find the best ways to address concerns with the timing of premium payments
- Explore all ways to relax due dates for premium payments
MA Bulletin 2020-05
Massachusetts Bill Rewrites Business Interruption Insurance Coverage
Proposed Massachusetts S.D. 2888 prohibits insurers from denying a claim for the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption on account of 1) COVID-19 being a virus (even if the relevant insurance policy excludes losses resulting from viruses); or 2) there being no physical damage to the property of the insured or to any other relevant property. The bill goes beyond other similar state bills in that it explicitly mandates coverage even in the face of unambiguous policy language. Also, unlike other similar bills that apply to insureds with 100 employees, the Massachusetts bill would apply to insureds with “150 or fewer full-time equivalent employees” in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts bill provides insurers restitution from “funds collected and made available for such purpose as provided” in the proposed law “assessments” imposed “against licensed insurers in [Massachusetts] that sell business interruption insurance as may be necessary to recover the amounts paid, or estimated to be paid, to insurers” seeking reimbursement. The Massachusetts bill covers any loss of business or business interruption “until such time as the emergency declaration issued by the governor, dated March 10, 2020, and designated as executive order number 591, is rescinded by the governor.”
MA S.D. 2888
DIVISION OF INSURANCE POST FAQS FOR CONSUMERS ON COVID-19 AND INSURANCE
April 24, 2020
On April 9, 2020, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance posted frequently asked questions related to a broad range of issues that touch on the COVID-19 crises and insurance issues, including issues related to health insurance and property and casualty insurance coverage.
DIVISION OF INSURANCE ISSUES BULLETIN REGARDING VACANCY PROVISIONS DURING PANDEMIC
July 14, 2020
On May 18, 2020, the Division of Insurance issued Bulletin 2020-17 to all property and casualty carriers concerning steps they must take to address vacancy provisions. In the bulletin, the division stated that it expects carriers to preserve insurance coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic and do the following:
- Take steps to be flexible with vacancy limitations in policies issued to nonessential businesses and/or those not currently allowed to operate under state orders and rules.
- To consider a property vacant, exclude days that a property is vacant due to state orders, provided that the property is secured according to the terms of coverage.
MA Bulletin 2020-17