We have received many calls regarding the impact of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19, as it relates to your insurance policies. Most of the calls have been regarding business interruption or loss of income coverage and whether or not the policy will respond to a loss as a result of COVID-19. The only way to know for sure is to file a claim with the insurance company and get their specific response. If you feel your company is experiencing a potential loss in this regard, we will be happy to assist you in the process of filling a claim. Though we are not optimistic as to the potential for coverage, situations are all potentially unique. Things are changing quickly and we may see government or legal interventions that have an impact. There have already been some lawsuits filed challenging specific claim denials.
These unprecedented times have impacted all of our businesses to some extent and you may want to review coverage specifics to see if any adjustments are required. Especially look at estimated payrolls and sales as we can endorse the policies now if your exposure basis is expected to go down, rather than waiting for the audit at the end of the policy term. If you have any questions please contact us directly.
We are proud of how the insurance industry is responding in recognition of the greatly reduced automobile usage. Below is a summary of each company’s plan so that you can plan and anticipate accordingly. In most cases, they are still pending approval by the state Insurance Office.
Acuity: Existing policyholders will receive a rate reduction for their entire 12-month policy term at the policy renewal. The expected credit is about 7%. The overall money impact will vary based on your policy premium, but Acuity expects most will receive a savings of $50-$100.
Chubb: Upon renewal, policyholders will receive a credit reflecting a 35% premium reduction for the months of April and May. Across Chubb’s nationwide portfolio, the average credit is expected to be $110 per vehicle. I suspect it will be slightly less in Wisconsin.
Met Life Auto and Home: Customers will receive a 15% credit on monthly premiums for April and May. The credit is applied to future installments or a check if the policy is already paid in full.
Progressive: Customers with active policies will receive a credit of 20% of April and May premiums. These credits are applied to future installments, or a returned premium check if payment was made in full.
Safeco: Customers will receive a 15% refund on two months of their auto premium based on the premium amount as of April 7. The refund will be issued in the manner of the last payment, or by check.
West Bend: All Home and Highway customers will receive a $50 refund via a check mailed to your house.
For additional information, click on the company names to visit the carrier’s website.
These are very uncertain times; know that we are thinking about you and we remain ready to assist with any of your personal insurance needs. Feel free to contact us should you have any questions.
PSA Grocery Shopping Tips in COVID-19 (See Important Notes Below) www.DrJeffVW.com
Video posted to YouTube, courtesy of www.DrJeffVW.com
UPDATE: C.D.C. Recommends Americans Wear Cloth Masks in Public (April 3, 2020)
UPDATE: Surgeon General Video: “How to Make Your Own Face Covering.” www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPx1y…
Correction: Rinse fruits and vegetables with water – no soap.
Correction: NIH Data – COVID-19 lives on cardboard for 1 day.
Clarification: Perishable foods like meat should be brought in the home and refrigerated.Clarification: Only disinfect the outside packaging.
Note: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-… for info on disinfectants, etc.
As of posting date (March 24, 2020), this is the most current video for New CDC data, safe takeout food practices, and an updated practice for safe grocery shopping/handling.
As a result of the pandemic, the Wisconsin Compensation Rating Bureau (WCRB) has added a new code for furloughed employees that are kept on payroll but not actually performing any duties for the employer. As a result no premium charge will result from such payroll. The actual rule reads as follows:
Rule V – Premium Basis – H. Wages For Time NotWorked
Wages paid to employees who have been furloughed during the time period where a state-wide emergency order issued by a public official, whether or not the employer is exempted from the emergency order, shall be reported at audit under stat code 0012 – Paid Furloughed Workers During A Governmental Emergency Order Impacting Employment. The payroll during the furloughed period is not assigned to a classification code and no premium is calculated. If an employee is requested to perform any duties for their employer during this time period, they are not deemed furloughed while the task is being completed. If the employee is not deemed furloughed, the payroll will be assigned to the classification applicable to the work usually performed. Payroll records must clearly reflect the division of payroll between pre and post emergency declaration.
For the full WCRB Circular Letter that was published March 30, 2020 click here.
Health insurers are responding to the concerns of their policyholders. Concerns about visiting health care providers and potentially becoming exposed to the COVID-19 virus. Also, concerns that traditional health care is unavailable as hospitals and clinics are limiting visits to keep resources available for high risk conditions. Concerns about paying for health care during a time when some are temporarily furloughed from their jobs. The health insurance carriers are responding with a variety of solutions, some of which are summarized below.
Anthem: Until 5/31/20, cost sharing for members treatment of COVID-19 is being waived. Until 6/14/20, cost sharing for members using Anthem’s telehealth service, LiveHealth Online, as well as care received from other providers delivering virtual care is being waived.
The free Sydney Care mobile app is a quick and easy way to get heath answers 24/7 via the Symptom Checker, Virtual Text Visits or Virtual Video Visits. Until 06/14/20, you can get one Virtual Text Visit using Sydney Care for free, with additional sessions costing $19 each. Coronavirus Assessment using Sydney Care is always free.
If you are experiencing stress or anxiety related to the COVID-19 outbreak, know that the Anthem Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available with resources to help with your well-being and peace of mind. Visit the EAP website for free, confidential help at anthemEAP.com.
Early prescription fills for maintenance drugs are also being allowed.
For specific questions about your benefits and COVID-19 visit anthem.com/coronavirus.
Humana: Doctor On Demand has been made available, using an app on your phone or tablet, for everyday health concerns and for mental health services. Costs are usually lower than a visit to the emergency room or urgent care, and in many cases are being waived.
If your physician determines that you should be tested for COVID-19, Humana will waive the out-of-pocket costs for the test and subsequent treatment.
Early prescription fills are also being allowed. For employers, open enrollment periods have been extended by 30 days.
UnitedHealthcare: Until 06/18/20, UHC has $0 cost-sharing for virtual visits, whether for COVID-19 testing, medical issues, and physical, speech or occupational therapies. Also, a new online symptom checker is available on myuhc.com to help you assess your risk for COVID-19, with care and treatment options to consider. This tool is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or think you might have been exposed to COVID-19, please call your health care provider right away and ask what telehealth options they may have to meet virtually, which can be used for advice and guidance about COVID-19. Until 05/31/20, UHC has $0 cost-sharing for testing and treatment associated with a COVID-19 diagnosis. Assistance for early prescription fills is also available.
For the most up-to-date plan and benefit information, please visit myuhc.com/covid.
Coverage and benefit information shared above is provided as a general summary – if any of this information conflicts with your policy or certificate of coverage, the policy or certificate of coverage will determine the actual coverage and benefits. Also, this general summary may not cover all situations; you are encouraged to visit carrier websites or contact us for up-to-date information. Other health insurance carriers have responded to the COVID-19 crisis as well; contact us for more information.
Anyone that suspects having COVID19 should call their physician to discuss their symptoms. The physician can order a test if symptoms warrant. During these uncertain times we are here to help you with any of your health insurance needs. Feel free to contact us should you have any questions.
We continue to see a commitment by our company partners to provide resources or financial help – both intended to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis on customers. Below is a summary of the information or responses that we have been made aware of.
AMTRUST FINANCIAL: AmTrust has published this article for safely reopening small businesses after COVID-19. Getting Back to Business after COVID-19: How Small Businesses Can Safely Reopen This includes an overview of President Trump’s three-phase plan to reopen the country “one careful step at a time”. Additionally, they have a COVID-19 resource page at AmTrustFinancial.com/resource-center/coronavirus-information.
CNA: CNA understands that businesses are facing significant obstacles and may find it difficult to immediately pay insurance premiums. To address this situation and ensure continued coverage, they’ve taken action to support property and casualty policyholders. Until June 1, 2020, CNA will suspend all policy cancellations for nonpayment, waive all late fees and continue regular premium billing.
In all instances, they will continue to follow regulatory guidance and provide support to customers where need be. They also have a COVID-19 resource page at CNA.com/web/user/cna/home/emergnotify/COVID-19-Coronavirus.
SOCIETY INSURANCE: In March, Society announced that they were automatically suspending all cancellations of policies for non-payment through April 30. Now they have extended that date to June 30, 2020. They will also continue to waive late fees that might normally apply.
Policyholders are encouraged to make any payment they can towards their outstanding premium due. For those who are unable to make a payment at this time and are set up on recurring payments, the policyholder will need to either stop the recurring payment online or contact the Premium Receivables Department to suspend the recurring payments. To contact Society’s Premium Receivables Department, email email@example.com or call 888.576.2438, ext. 5522.
WEST BEND: West Bend is returning premium to SMARTbusiness® policyholders. COVID-19 has affected all of us. Because of mandatory closures or changes in operations, however, some businesses have experienced a greater impact. In response to all that’s going on around us, West Bend has announced they’ll be returning 15% of 9 weeks of policy premium, with a minimum payment of $50, to all SMARTbusiness® policyholders whose policies were in effect as of March 11, 2020, the date the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Pending regulatory approval, these payments will automatically be issued as checks and sent to policyholders in the coming weeks.
Special billing accommodations for West Bend policyholders is also in place. Suspension of cancellations of policies due to nonpayment is automatically in place until the end of May. Details are on their website TheSilverLining.com, or contact us at Woller-Anger & Company.
Through good times and bad, West Bend remains committed to agents and policyholders. West Bend also has a COVID-19 resource page at TheSilverLining.com/covid-19.
Additional information that we wanted to share with our customers:
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. The State of Wisconsin has developed guidelines with input from national and state health and industry experts. Below is a link to their guidelines page, including general guidelines applicable to every business, along with other guidelines that are industry-specific.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development: Below are links to frequently asked questions and resources that relate to DWD’s services and information in response to COVID-19.
Worker’s Compensation – FAQs
Equal Rights – FAQs
Workplace Guidance – PDF Resource
National Underwriter. Below is a link to an article published on May 4, 2020 by the National Underwriter, outlining the need for careful planning to mitigate risks. It contains good information on reopening and avoiding liability for gross negligence.