The Iowa Division of Insurance says insurers can tell consumers about the new, 60-day emergency grace period when they call, rather than notifying them by mail.

The division talks about the details of implementing the emergency grace period provision in Bulletin 08-09.

Officials use the bulletin to answer several questions about the grace period provision, which was adopted to help consumers affected by the recent tornadoes and flooding in Iowa.

Officials note that insurers must add the 60-day grace period to any existing grace period, rather than replacing a normal grace period with the 60-day grace period.

Insurers also must take the time to check themselves to see whether Iowa has expanded the list of counties affected by the recent natural disasters, officials say.

The current list is available at Document Link

Some insurers told the Iowa division that reprogramming computers to avoid sending grace period notices to customers in all affected counties might not be possible.

“The division has agreed with the companies that they will not be required to send a notice to every insured in the counties that have been declared a disaster area,” officials write. “Rather, when the insured calls them after notice, the companies will provide the 60 day grace period.”

In many cases, insurers will have to depend on the insureds to find out whether customers have been affected by the recent storms, officials write.