COVID-19 Insurance-related News

In this challenging and unpredictable time, we are doing our best to keep you informed on insurance or business-related issues regarding the COVID-19 impact. We've listed some resources below for your use that may help to answer simple questions regarding insurance coverage for injury or damage as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Please understand that an actual claim will have specific facts that can materially change the coverage as described below and your insurance policy is the ultimate contract to accept or deny coverage.

As the COVID-19 spread is an evolving situation, the regulations and laws governing how coverage applies may change over time and we will continue to share this information as it becomes available.

Travelers announces Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit

We know that many of our customers are doing their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. That means many of them are driving fewer miles, resulting in a decrease in auto claims.

With that in mind, we have launched the Stay-at-Home Auto Premium Credit Program, which will automatically give U.S. personal auto insurance customers a 15% credit on their April and May premiums. It’s our way of supporting our customers, and we hope it helps ease some of the financial burden many are experiencing. 

Customers who pay by monthly installments will receive the automatic credit on future bills. Customers who have already paid their billing account in full will receive a direct payment. We are working with regulators to obtain all the necessary approvals.

We will continue to assess the program as more information comes to light about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the driving environment and auto claims.

We continue to provide auto coverage for customers across the country whose job responsibilities now include using their personal vehicles to make food, grocery, pharmacy and medical supply deliveries. (This does not apply to those who are working for transportation network companies.)



N.J. governor issues emergency grace period on nonpayment cancellations

Gov. Phil Murphy issued Executive Order 123 on April 9, 2020, to prohibit the cancellation of property/casualty, life and health insurance policies for a certain period of time.

Specifically, the executive order prohibits the cancellation of any property/casualty or life insurance policy for a period of at least 90 days. This includes any policies that are financed by a premium-finance company.

 The order also prohibits the cancellation of health insurance policies, including dental plans, for a period of at least 60 days.

 Any claims that arise during the emergency grace period must be paid without regard to any nonpayment of premiums by the policyholders. In addition, insurance companies are prohibited from seeking recoupment of any claims paid during the emergency grace period based on nonpayment of premiums. They also must waive certain late fees, interest or other charges associated with delays in premium payments.

 Notification of the emergency grace period must be provided to the policyholders by the insurance companies.

At the conclusion of the emergency grace period, a policyholder’s unpaid premium must be written off over a period of time that will be determined by the commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance.



FEMA Extends Grace Period for Flood Insurance Renewal Premiums and Underpayments

FEMA has released a bulletin to extend the renewal premium payment and underpayment grace period up to 120 days for NFIP flood policies expiring between Feb. 13 and June 15, 2020 as part of their proactive relief to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator, David Maurstad  stated: “We want to make sure that policyholders don’t have to worry that their policy will lapse during the spring flood season or into the start of hurricane season. We hope this extension will give policyholders some peace of mind and allow them extra time to renew their policies to ensure they are covered should a flood loss occur.”

Source: WYO Bulletin W-2002

One-Stop for COVID-19 Resources and Information

The Cape May County Chamber of Commerce has a wealth of information about COVID-19 resources for businesses and individuals. Visit their page here.

COVID-19 Information for NJ Businesses

NJEDA has people online to answer questions 12 hours a day, plus can provide direct (for NJ and EDA programs) and indirect (for Federal programs) guidance on all of the current and just-created funding assistance options (loans/grants).

Search for information on COVID-19's impact on businesses, and submit a question via the chat function here.

Pay by electronic check or credit card if possible

Because of stay-at-home policies, check processing times may be longer than usual. Our companies are suggesting their customers pay online by electronic check or credit card, if possible. Visit our Pay My Bill page for resources.

Protect your job site from vandalism.

Gov. Murphy ordered all non-essential construction projects to cease for now, making your unoccupied construction site now more vulnerable to vandalism. Here are some recommendations from Liberty Mutual for safeguards you can take to keep your job site safer from vandalism.  Liberty Mutual Protecting your job site 

Food delivery exclusion may be relaxed by some insurers, but check first

As many restaurants shift to a take-out or delivery-only business model, some of these businesses may ask their direct employees to deliver food and temporarily use their personal vehicles for the commercial use of their employer.

Although the private passenger auto policy specifically excludes commercial use for the delivery of food, some companies are temporarily lifting this exclusion to provide coverage for their policyholders during this unprecedented time. The temporary lifting of this policy exclusion does not apply to drivers delivering food for a transportation network company (TNC) or similar delivery company (Uber Eats, DoorDash, Grubhub, etc.).

It's important to check with your agent before you agree to deliver food on behalf of your employer or as a side job.

Travelers Expands Billing Relief

Travelers will suspend cancellation and nonrenewal of coverage due to nonpayment through May 15, 2020. Travelers will not charge interest, late fees or penalties during this period, providing policyholders extra time to pay their premiums without risking cancellation. 

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility Everyday Steps, Steps When Someone is Sick, and Considerations for Employers 

The Centers for Disease Control offer these recommendations to employers to keep your building sanitized.

Leasing your facilities during COVID-19

We understand some of our insureds may be approached, or are seeking to have their properties used by hospital/government entities for first responders, hospital and medical staff, and to quarantine COVID-19 patients – and it is possible that some medical protocols may be implemented in those properties.

As this likely is a material change in your operations, a call to your agent must be made before you agree to participate, and in turn your agent will request permission from your insurer to continue coverage with this change in occupancy. 

New York State Department of Financial Services issued amendment to provide premium payment relief to policyholders

Changes in nonpayment rules

The relevant amendments make the following changes regarding nonpayment:

Insurers must permit policyholders who already have missed or do miss a payment due to financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and who still can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, to be allowed to pay the missed payment over a 12-month period. Policyholders, who received a nonpayment cancellation notice prior to the March 29, 2020, effective date of the executive order, will be given a similar extension provided they can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Does my Workers Comp cover me if an employee contracts COVID-19?

Read how your workers compensation insurance policy may or may not cover losses due to COVID-19. Coronavirus Considerations

Liberty Mutual Small Commercial policyholder relief

All of us at Liberty Mutual Insurance are here for you. Your safety and well-being are our primary concern.

To support you during this difficult time, effective March 23, 2020, we introduced a nationwide 60-day billing leniency policy for our small commercial customers. Therefore, from March 23 through May 22, 2020, we will not cancel policies for nonpayment.

Progressive returns $1 billion in premium to customers

Progressive announced that they are providing credits of approximately $1 billion in premium to Progressive personal auto customers as a result of fewer claims that come with less frequent driving. 

Progressive CEO Tricia Griffith explained, “We understand how difficult and uncertain people’s lives are right now. While auto insurance might not be the most pressing topic on everyone’s mind, we know that finances could be. For our customers who have trusted us to be there in their times of need, we’re fulfilling that promise. We want them to know how much we care. Always guided by our core values, doing the right thing is vitally important to us. We know that by sticking together and taking care of one another during these difficult times, we’ll come through this stronger. We want our current customers to remain our future customers.”