Due to the pandemic numerous insurance questions have come up, please see below regarding some of the questions that come up daily.
Question: We are hardly driving due to the quarantine, are carriers providing discounts?
Answer: Most companies are now providing a credit, from 15% off of one month’s premium to 35% off of two month’s premium. We have been advised that these credits are automatic, you do not need to request a credit, they will be applied automatically, some in the near future and others at your next renewal. You DO NOT need to take any action to receive these credits. When approved the credits will be applied automatically. Note, in some States the credits have not been approved as of our writing by the Insurance Department / Department of Financial Services. One action that you can take if your cars are rated as "commute to work" or "business use" and you do not foresee driving to work etc. in the near future, we can look into a revision. Note, the difference between pleasure use and commute to work (if a short commute) is usually low.
Question: Due to the Payroll Protection loan we received, payroll is being continued but my employees are idle and not on job sites, is there any reduction in our rate due to the above?
Answer: On May 1st the NY Workers’ Compensation Rating Board advised that in this situation a less-expensive rate is now available. The code will be 8873 – Telecommuter Reassigned Employees. This rate will be similar to a Clerical Office Employee rate. It is to be used when the employees are reassigned to perform clerical type work or not perform any work duties. It will be applied back to the original start of New York’s stay-at-home order and for up to 30 days after its conclusion per the Workers’ Compensation Board. This will apply to all in-force policies as of March 16, 2020 and all renewal policies effective May 1, 2020. You can request the change be made now or we also assume (but obtaining clarification) that you can also have this done at audit. If you are already in an office type code or similar there would not be much of a rate difference to this new classification. Where this can really help is if in a higher rated code such as a contracting or manufacturing class. If this change could apply to you, we would need to know the amount of payroll on your current Workers’ Compensation policy that should be amended to this code (ie., annual payroll estimate on policy is $200,000 and of that amount employees “idle/clerical payroll” is estimated to be $40,000, we can request the change).
Question: Can we defer payments on premiums due to financial hardship?
Answer: The answer to this is “it depends.” In most States (ie.,NYS) the companies are not sending out cancellation notices for most Personal Lines policies or many types of Business Policies. In the case of Health Insurance you can contact the carrier and request an extension. However, “excess and surplus lines” companies may send out cancellation notices and require payment, although one can request an extension to be considered. Also in NYS for Life Insurance, the grace period to pay will be extended from 30 days to 90 days, if you can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the pandemic. This is a temporary extension for policies in the grace period. You would need to confirm with the company if your grace period falls within the approved dates. Also, if you are in another State you will need to ask your insurance company. You can speak directly with the billing department of your carrier and, of course, we are here to provide assistance as necessary. Some companies may not even require demonstration of financial hardship, some are just providing an automatic grace period extension. Again, check with your own company for any questions on their requirements (most are sending letters direct to their clients as well). Please note not paying certain premiums such as on cash value type life insurance can affect your policy.
Hope the above information has been helpful. If you have other questions don't hesitate to contact our team. We're proud to continue helping you protect what matters most.
Life, Health, Disability & Long Term Insurance
Ron Altman has been our family insurance broker for many years. He has always been helpful and responsive, and his recommendations have been helpful and cost-effective. In fact I have referred a number of my clients to him. — Michael Bamberger