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California calls for relaxed premium payment deadlines

Posted On: Mar. 19, 2020 8:20 AM CST

Ricardo Lara

Insurers should give California policyholders at least a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums amid disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said Wednesday.

Mr. Lara made the request to “ensure policies are not canceled for nonpayment of premium due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency,” according to a statement from the California Department of Insurance.

The order applies to “all admitted and nonadmitted insurance companies that provide any insurance coverage in California, including life, health, auto, property, casualty and other types of insurance,” Mr. Lara’s notice to insurers said.

In addition, insurance agents, brokers and others who accept premium payments on behalf of insurers “take steps to ensure that customers have the ability to make prompt insurance payments,” the notice said.

This should include “alternate methods of payment, such as online payments, to eliminate the need for in-person payment methods, in order to protect the safety of workers and customers,” the notice said.

“Now is the time to come together to help consumers weather this unprecedented period of uncertainty, and that includes helping policyholders maintain their insurance coverage if they are unable to pay their premiums,” Mr. Lara said in the statement.

Separately, Commissioner Lara also called for auto insurers to maintain coverage and driver discounts to policyholders with expired licenses, according to the statement.

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here.