April 10, 2020
A recent Executive Order issued by Governor Cuomo, together with recent amendments to the insurance and banking regulations issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services, extend grace periods and give you other rights under certain property/casualty insurance policies if you are an individual or small business and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic. These grace periods and rights are currently in effect but are temporary, though they may be extended further. Please check the Department’s website at https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/coronavirus for updates.
If you are an individual, generally, personal lines property/casualty insurance policies are covered by these amendments, including auto, homeowners’ and renters’ insurance. If you are an individual and an affected policyholder, please contact me if you are uncertain whether your policy is covered.
If you are a small business, only certain types of commercial lines property/casualty insurance policies are covered by these amendments, generally including property, fire, commercial general liability, special multiperil, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, commercial auto (including livery and other for-hire vehicles), and commercial umbrella insurance. A business qualifies as a “small business” if it is resident in New York State, is independently owned and operated, and employs 100 or fewer individuals. If you are a small business and an affected policyholder, please contact me if you are uncertain whether your policy is covered.
- A copy of the Executive Order and regulations can be found at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20213-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency and https://www.dfs.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/03/re_consolidated_amend_pt_405_27a_27c_new_216_text.pdf, respectively.
Moratorium on Cancellation, Non-Renewal, and Conditional Renewal
If you are an affected policyholder, there is a moratorium on your insurer cancelling, non-renewing, or conditionally renewing your property/casualty insurance policy for a period of 60 days. If you do not make a timely premium payment and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, your insurer may not impose any late fees relating to the premium payment or report you to a credit reporting agency or a debt collection agency regarding such premium payment.
Catching up on Overdue Insurance Payments
The regulations also require your insurer to permit you, as an affected policyholder, to pay the overdue premium over a 12-month period if you did not make a timely premium payment due to financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and can still demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This also applies if the insurer sent you a nonpayment cancellation notice prior to March 29, 2020.
Catching up on Overdue Payments to Premium Finance Agencies
If you, as an affected policyholder, do not make a timely installment payment to the premium finance agency due to financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the premium finance agency must permit you to pay the installment payment over a 12-month period if you can still demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, subject to the safety and soundness of the premium finance agency. This also applies if the premium finance agency issued a non-payment cancellation notice prior to March 29, 2020.
How to Demonstrate Financial Hardship
If you, as an affected policyholder, are unable to make a timely premium payment due to financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may submit to your insurer a statement that you swear or affirm in writing under penalty of perjury that you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the insurer or premium finance agency, as applicable, shall accept as satisfactory proof. Such statement is not required to be notarized.
Who to Contact
Some companies can be contacted directly to set up an alternate payment schedule or to inquire about your payments. Their contact information is below:
NYCM & A. Central 1-800-234-6926
For all other companies or for any questions on how to set up a new payment plan, please contact me at 716-903-8448.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call or email. Also, please know that I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.