South Dakota Insurance Director Merle Scheiber has announced a temporary suspension of insurance policy cancellations and nonrenewals for insureds displaced by the flooding affecting that state.

Scheiber has announced the changes in South Dakota Insurance Division Bulletin 11-05, which is directed to all insurers and agents licensed in South Dakota.

The suspension of cancellations and nonrenewals will apply from June 1 to Sept. 1 to South Dakota residents who live in counties in which a disaster has been declared and who have been displaced by the flooding, Scheiber says.

“Nothing in this bulletin waives any requirement to pay premiums or remit consideration which may be due on any policy or contract during this period of time,” Scheiber says. “Any failure to pay premiums or remit consideration that was due during and not paid by the end of the time frame June 1, 2011, to September 1, 2011, may be subject to retroactive cancellation back to the original date as if this bulletin had not been in effect…. Nothing in this bulletin requires an insurer to provide coverage to insured not displaced by the flooding or who is otherwise unaffected by any mail disruptions.”

The bulletin applies to all lines of insurance that Scheiber regulates.

The bulletin is necessary because flooding has disrupted mail service in some South Dakota counties, and some residents have had to move temporarily or evacuate because of the flooding, Scheiber says.

“Accordingly, many insureds in South Dakota have been unable to timely act or respond to their insurance needs,” Scheiber says.

In some cases, the usual time frame rules may be hurting the insureds that the rules are meant to protect, Scheiber says.

- Allison Bell

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