The Texas Department of Insurance issued Bulletin # B-0007-20 extending claim handling deadlines and premium payments as the COVID-19 pandemic has been deemed a catastrophe under Texas Ins. Code Section 542.059(b).
Claims handling deadlines are extended by an additional 15 days and such extension will remain in effect until the Governor’s suspension and Commissioner’s declaration are lifted. Carriers must continue to promptly acknowledge receipt of a claim and must continue to promptly evaluate and resolve claims.
The Bulletin also directs carriers to work with policyholders who may experience financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carriers may use grace periods for payments, temporary suspension of premium payments, and other actions to allow continuing coverage as appropriate. “Suspension” does not mean the forgiveness of a premium. Automatic debits of payments may continue unless a policyholder notifies the carrier of a specific hardship. TDI expects carriers to work directly with policyholders to resolve issues and minimize the effects of any penalties or charges.