Insurance companies regulated by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) are being urged to support businesses and consumers in the wake of COVID-19.
We’re hearing many clients express concern about business finances because of mandatory shutdowns and workforce restrictions. We’re encouraging them to reach out to their insurance carriers now, to work out a payment structure that will help their businesses survive the coming weeks or months.
For reference, the latest guidance from DFS encourages insurance carriers to:
- Offer payment accommodations, such as deferred payments at no cost, extending payment due dates, or waiving late or reinstatement fees where an insured can’t make timely payments of premium or fees due to COVID-19-related disruptions;
- Work with businesses to avoid cancelling insurance policies for (a) failure to pay premiums on time, (b) discovery of acts or omissions that may have increased the hazard insured against, or (c) physical changes in the property insured subsequent to issuance or last renewal that result in the property no longer meeting the insurer’s underwriting standards;
- Work with businesses to avoid non-renewal where they fail to timely respond to a non-renewal notice;
- Increase company resources to handle increased claim submissions and inquiries about policy coverage benefits, including ensuring sufficient personnel who are up to date on developments relating to COVID-19;
- Prepare clear and concise descriptions of coverage benefits that may be triggered as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, which should be posted by and available from carriers and brokers;
- Ensure that businesses don’t experience a disruption of service if regulators close the insurance company or insurance brokers’ offices;
- Proactively reach out to customers via app announcements, text, email, or otherwise to explain the assistance being offered.
We know many insurance brokers and agents across Western New York, and we can bet they’ll do their level best to help their business clients withstand this crisis.
If you have legal questions about insurance coverage and your small business, feel free to reach out. We’re always in your corner.