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Ill., Ind., Iowa Ask Insurers For Patience

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Illinois, Indiana and Iowa insurance regulators are calling for insurers to give consumers affected by the recent flooding more time to make payments and take other required actions.

Illinois Insurance Director Michael McRaith has put out a directive calling for “exceptions for consumers in disaster areas” in Commissioner’s Bulletin 2008-04.

McRaith is ordering that insurers help all consumers affected by the flooding, including those living outside officially declared disaster areas, by putting a moratorium on policy cancellations and nonrenewals issued on or after June 10 until Aug. 18.

Insurers should provide an extension of at least 60 days for all other actions, such as payments of premiums or submissions of claims, and they should consider making other changes, such as offering relief for displaced managed care plan insureds who cannot seek care from their usual providers, McRaith writes in the bulletin.

Insurers should post on their Web sites information about all actions taken to comply with the bulletin requirements, McRaith writes.

Any insurer that will not or cannot comply with the directives must notify Illinois regulators by June 25.

Indiana Insurance Commissioner James Atterholt has imposed a policy cancellation moratorium in Bulletin 163.

The Indiana bulletin applies to Indiana counties declared by the state or by the federal government to be disaster areas.

In addition to suspending policy cancellations for consumers in disaster area counties, insurers must suspend any penalties attached to late payments, Atterholt writes in the bulletin.

“This ‘moratorium’ is not a waiver,” Atterholt writes. “It is only an extension of the grace period in which to pay the premium.”

Insurers can cancel or nonrenew policies for other allowable reasons, Atterholt writes.

“However, the department would request insurance companies take into consideration that persons in the heavily impacted areas may be unable to receive a notice of cancellation or non-renewal due to evacuation or delayed postal service in that area,” Atterholt writes.

The Indiana department will try to do its share to help by giving insurers, producers and other regulated individuals and entities 60 extra days to submit premium tax filings, meet continuing education requirements, and meet other deadlines, Atterholt writes.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Susan Voss is asking for emergency grace periods, in Iowa Bulletin 2008-09, on behalf of consumers in Iowa counties declared to be state or presidential disaster areas.

Insurers ought to let customers affected by the recent disasters defer payments coming due before the end of June, interest free, for up to 60 days from the original premium due date, Voss writes in the bulletin.

Insurers also ought to give insureds an extra 60 days to perform acts such as providing requested information, Voss writes.

Insurers do not have to file any documents to get permission for deferrals, but “any insurer unable or unwilling to comply with this request must inform the Iowa Insurance Division of the reasons for its inability or unwillingness to comply,” Voss writes.

“Historically, many companies have voluntarily extended grace periods in emergency situations like these,” Voss says in a statement about the bulletin. “They know it’s good business. More than that, it’s the right thing to do.”

In related news:

- New York Life Insurance Company, New York, says it will be relaxing premium payment requirements for individuals affected by the floods.

- Aetna Inc., Hartford, says it will “adjust its policies to comply with any local, state or federal disaster executive orders or regulations issued related to these catastrophic events.”

Aetna is extending claim filing deadlines for life, disability and long term care insurance policies for customers affected by the Midwest flooding and also extending deadlines for related procedures, such as procedures for collecting evidence of insurability.

Aetna is letting health plan members affected by the flooding “seek urgent or emergency care anywhere, as needed,” Aetna says.

Members who cannot see their usual providers can get non-emergency care out of network.

Aetna members in areas affected by the Midwest flooding can refill prescriptions early, get mail-order prescriptions delivered to an alternate location, or refill a prescription that may have been lost, damaged or destroyed by the flooding.

Aetna also is offering employee assistance program services to all members affected by the flooding, even if their employers do not normally offer Aetna EAP services.


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