Insurance companies urged to be 'flexible' on payments

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With the coronavirus disrupting jobs and causing people to seek “social distancing,” state regulators Wednesday issued a series of guidelines for insurance companies during the pandemic.

In part, the Office of Insurance Regulation called on insurers to “only consider cancellation of policies if all possible efforts to work with consumers to continue coverage have been exhausted.”

Also, it said insurers should be “flexible with premium payments to avoid a lapse in coverage,” suggesting steps such as relaxing due dates, waiving late fees and penalties and allowing payment plans.

Also, in an informational memorandum sent to insurers, regulators addressed issues such as people’s efforts to avoid spreading the highly contagious virus.

“Given the guidance issued by the state of Florida regarding social distancing, consumers may not be able or willing to receive in-person inspections of insured property for the purposes of binding or issuing new or renewal insurance policies, wind mitigation inspections or adjusting a claim, and employers may not be able or willing to receive in-person auditors for audits of its business records,” the memorandum said. “Therefore, regulated entities, agents, consumers and employers are strongly encouraged to explore virtual options for underwriting and adjusting claims in lieu of in-person property inspections and for premium audits of employers’ records.”

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.