COVID-19 insurance refunds, credits and reductions

The Department of Insurance (DOI) has orders insurers to make premium refunds for March and April, 2020 because of COVID-19 because of curtailed activities of policyholders.  These refunds are for private auto insurance, commercial auto insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, commercial multiple peril insurance, commercial liability insurance, medical malpractice insurance, and any other line of coverage where measures of risk have become substantially overstated because of COVID-19.

Insurers can reclassify exposure or reduce the exposure base (miles driven, payroll receipt etc) without prior approval of rates or rules by DOI if done consistent with the insurer’s existing rate plan.

Insurers may refund premium without prior DOI approval if they apply a uniform premium reduction for all policyholders in an individual line of insurance.  The amount of the refund can be an average percentage based on estimated change in risk and/or reduction in exposure base.

Alternatively, insurers can reassess the classification and exposure bases of affected risks on a case-by-case basis. For example, an insurer could reclassify a personal automobile exposure from commute use to pleasure use and reduce estimated miles driven accordingly for the duration of COVID-19.

Insurers must provide each affected policyholder a notice of the amount of the refund, and a check, premium credit, reduction, return of premium or other adjustment within 120 days.  Insurers must report to DOI actions taken and planned to refund premiums within 60 days. (Bulletin 2020-3, April 13, 2020.)