Arizona Department Of Insurance Seeks Insurance Extensions For Arizona Customers

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Arizona Department of Insurance
100 North 15th Avenue, Suite 261

Phoenix, AZ  85007-2630


Starting July 1, 2020, we will be the
Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions (DIFI).

PHOENIX⁠ — The Arizona Department of Insurance is urging insurers across the state to work with Arizonans to ensure their coverage continues, providing much-need support to the individuals, families and businesses facing financial challenges because of COVID-19. 

“Arizona is working to ensure those facing financial hardship because of COVID-19 get the support they need to get through this,” said Governor Ducey. “We have called on insurers across the state to work with consumers during this health emergency to make sure Arizonans do not lose the coverage they depend on. My thanks to the insurers already working with their customers in good faith to provide relief for people who need it.”

The request applies to all insurers providing coverage including life, health, motor vehicle, property, casualty and any type of insurance for individuals, groups and businesses.

In the letter, the Department urges insurers to provide customers relief, including: 

Refraining from cancelling policies due to non-payment during this time of hardship; 

Working with consumers on premium payment plans for late premium payments; 

Waiving late fees, interest, and penalties; 

Delaying premium increases; 

Suspending the use of credit reports for rating; 

Refraining from cancelling auto policies due to deferred expiration of driver's license;

And extending time frames to undergo medical examinations. 

Many insurers are already offering options and resources for consumers, and Arizonans are encouraged to connect with their insurance companies to learn more about their options during the state’s public health emergency. 

The Department of Insurance is also making it easier for auto-insurers who have experienced savings due to less people being on the road, to offer rebates and premium credits to individuals to allow them to share in the savings and provide some additional financial assistance during this time. 

View the letter from the Arizona Department of Insurance HERE

View additional information on Arizona’s response efforts HERE and daily updates HERE

View information on COVID-19, resources and volunteer opportunities at ArizonaTogether.org.
 

Governor's Executive Order 2020-07; Proactive Measures to Protect Against COVID-19

Governor Douglas A. Ducey issued a declaration of Public Health Emergency due to the necessity to prepare for, prevent, respond to and mitigate the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Governor Ducey also issued Executive Order 2020-07, which will be accessible from the Governor's Executive Orders web page (https://azgovernor.gov/executive-orders).


The Executive Order instructs the Department of Health Services and the Department of Insurance to require all Arizona-regulated insurers to cover COVID diagnostic testing from all qualified laboratories without regard to whether the laboratory is in-network; waive all cost-sharing requirements for consumers related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing; and, cover telemedicine visits at a lower cost-sharing point for consumers than the same in-office service to encourage utilization of telemedicine for the duration of the state's public health emergency.


The Executive Order also instructs the Department of Health Services and Arizona health regulatory boards to prohibit, investigate and take action against price gouging by any healthcare professional or healthcare institution in relation to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment-related services, and requires the Attorney General to investigate and vigorously prosecute complaints of consumer fraud in relation to COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment-related services under consumer protection laws.

Governor's Executive Order 2020-15; Expands Telemedicine Coverage For Arizonans

Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-15, requiring health care insurance companies to expand telemedicine coverage for all services that would normally be covered for an in-person visit. The order helps ensure that Arizonans who may be sick or under quarantine can access care from their homes and avoid potentially risky trips to a health care provider. It remains in effect until the termination of the declared public health emergency. 

“Access to health care is crucial at a time like this,” said Governor Ducey. “This order will ensure that Arizonans can access care without having to leave home while freeing up much needed capacity for our health care providers and hospitals. It’s commonsense and helps ensure our most vulnerable continue to have access to care in a way that protects them and public health.”

Yesterday, Governor Ducey took steps to free up physicians for other needed medical services and ensure access to health care for kids and vulnerable Arizonans receiving care through KidsCare and AHCCCS.

Today’s Executive Order prevents insurers from charging more for a telemedicine visit than they would for an in-person visit. In addition, the order:

  • Requires all Medicaid plans in the State of Arizona to cover all health care services that are covered benefits to be accessible by telemedicine to AHCCCS members, while prohibiting those plans from discounting rates for services provided via telemedicine;
  • Includes all electronic means of delivering telehealth including telephone and video calls;
  • Ensures that a patient’s home is considered an approved location to receive telemedicine services;
  • And prohibits a regulatory board from requiring a medical professional who is authorized to write prescriptions to conduct an in-person examination of a patient prior to the issuance of a prescription.
Governor's Executive Order 2020-17; Continuity of Work - License Requirements

On March 26, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-17, which allows agencies to defer certain license-related requirements under certain conditions.  The following three portions of the Executive Order that relate to the Department of Insurance license applicants and license-holders are as follows:

1.  A state agency can defer license renewal if requirements cannot be fulfilled online.   

  • All Department of Insurance license renewal requirements can be completed online; therefore, licensees must complete renewal requirements by or before the expiration dates on licenses.

2.  A state agency can defer continuing education requirements if continuing education cannot be completed online. 

  • Insurance producers may complete insurance continuing education online.  Until social distancing recommendations are lifted, insurance producers do not need to have post-course examinations proctored.

3.  When a pre-license examination is required that cannot be provided via electronic or remote format, a state agency must issue a provisional license to an applicant, unless prohibited by federal law or regulation, if the applicant has met all requirements for a license other than the examination.   

  • Our insurance license examination testing vendor, Prometric, has closed its testing centers in accordance with guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control
     
  • Pre-license examinations are not required of non-resident applicants or for business-entity applicants, who can apply for licenses online at any time using the National Insurance Producer Registry (www.nipr.com).
     
  • Because COVID-19 has caused pre-license insurance examinations and fingerprinting services to be unavailable, we have made provisional (temporary) licenses available to Arizona-resident individuals who meet all license requirements other than passing the exam and submitting fingerprints.  In accordance with the Executive Order,
    • a provisional license expires six months after the date issued;
    • once pre-license insurance examinations and fingerprinting services are made available, the Department shall notify each provisional license-holder by e-mail ("e-mail notification"), and a provisional license-holder shall have 20 days after the e-mail notification to pass the pre-license examination that corresponds to the authority held on the provisional license;
    • a provisional license-holder shall have 30 days after the e-mail notification to submit fingerprints to the Department;
    • a provisional license of a person who fails to pass the pre-license examination within 20 days after the e-mail notification shall be automatically suspended pursuant to Executive Order 2020-17, which will require the person to immediately cease conducting business requiring the license;
    • a provisional license (whether active or suspended) shall be converted to a permanent license once the provisional license-holder passes the pre-license examination and furnishes fingerprints to the Department.
       
  • To apply for a provisional license:
    • Use the National Insurance Producer Registry (www.nipr.com) if you are an individual wanting to apply for provisional Arizona-resident insurance producer authority.
       
    • Download, save, complete and submit Form L-PRV if you are an individual wanting to apply for provisional Arizona-resident adjuster or surplus lines broker license.  

Executive Order 2020-26: Remote Online Notary Services

On April 8, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-26, allowing Arizona notaries public who meet requirements specified by the Arizona Secretary of State to offer remote online notarization, allowing Arizonans and notaries can meet, sign and notarize documents online starting Friday, April 10, 2020.  We will soon be providing more information about how Arizonans can find an approved online notary starting April 10.

Fire Readiness and Your Insurance Coverage

Complete three steps to be prepared

STEP ONE: Inventory your contents. 
Making a record of what you have provides two major benefits.  First, it could help you estimate the cost of replacing your contents, which you could use to make sure you have enough insurance coverage.  Second, it will help you identify missing or destroyed items if you need to file an insurance claim. Keep your inventory records in a safe place outside your home, such as a safe deposit box at a bank, or in a secure online location. 

  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has a free app called, “MyHome Scr.APP.book,” available from Google Play and from the Apple App Store, which can help you keep track of your personal property. 
  • The Insurance Information Institute provides advice that can make creating a home inventory easier (https://www.iii.org/article/how-create-home-inventory).

STEP TWO: Understand what your homeowners’ insurance policy covers.
If you do not have your policy on hand, get a copy from your insurance company or insurance agent. Then, make sure your policy provides enough coverage for your dwelling, contents and additional living expenses.

  • Dwelling Coverage:  This pays to reconstruct your home, from ground up if necessary.  It does not include the cost of the land on which your home sits because you will still have that, but it should include the cost to remove a destroyed structure and replace it a home that is similar to what you had prior to the fire.
  • Contents Coverage:  This pays to repair or replace your personal belongings. Your policy may provide contents coverage based on a set percentage of your dwelling coverage, but you can pay for more contents coverage if you think you need it. 
    • Check to see if your coverage will pay “actual cash value” or “replacement cost.”  Actual cash value (ACV) means what an item was worth when it was destroyed based on its initial cost minus depreciation or loss in value due to its age, condition and wear-and-tear.  Replacement cost (RC) means the cost to replace or repair damaged or destroyed property with materials of “like kind and quality”. Claims for damaged or destroyed items will initially be paid based on the ACV of the item.  When the item is replaced, a copy of the receipt must be provided to the insurance company to obtain payment of the balance owed.  Many policies require the damaged items to be replaced within six (6) months.
    • If you have expensive items, such as artwork, jewelry or computers, you can purchase or increase “scheduled” property coverage to make sure you have sufficient coverage for those items.
  • Additional Living Expense (a.k.a. Loss of Use) Coverage. This pays additional costs you may resulting from the property damage.  For example, if you are not able to live in your home, your policy may cover the costs of lodging and food, boarding your pets, etc.

Importantly, insurance policies are often lengthy, detailed documents.  Do not hesitate to contact your agent or insurance company representative if you have any questions. 

STEP THREE: Minimize your fire risk.
Periodically inspect your home for overloaded power strips, damaged electrical cords or other potential fire hazards.  Keep vegetation and combustible materials away from your home.  If you are in an area that is at higher risk for wildfire, follow “Avoiding Wildfire Damage” guidelines published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (https://www.fema.gov/pdf/hazard/wildfire/wdfrdam.pdf). 

Remain organized and keep good records

If you are the victim of a fire, remaining organized after an event can be difficult, but it is essential so that you can receive the benefits that your insurance coverage provides.

  • Keep all receipts for living expenses (housing, food, etc.) and for all items that you replace or repair.  Insurance companies may require that you submit original receipts. You should either copy, scan or take clear photos of receipts to provide yourself a backup. 
  • Take photos of your property and the damage.
  • Keep records of all your conversations, emails and letters about your claim with your insurance company and agent.  Take notes of conversations, documenting who you talked to, when you talked to them and what you were told. When possible, send an e-mail message to the person with whom you had the conversation to confirm your understanding of what you were told.
  • Do not throw away or destroy damaged property until your insurer inspects the property and tells you in writing/e-mail that you can do so.
  • Take an inventory of the damaged contents.  If you have an inventory from before the fire, use it to help identify items that were damaged/destroyed. 
  • When the insurer inspects the damage, do a complete walkthrough of your property and point out any issues or concerns you have.
  • When beginning the repair process, get multiple repair estimates from licensed contractors (look up records on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors “Contractor Search” page at https://roc.az.gov/contractor-search) with good reputations (look up records on the Better Business Bureau website at https://www.bbb.org).
  • Don’t delay.  Insurance policies generally have restrictions on how long after a fire you can file claims.

Persons with disabilities may request materials in an alternative format by contacting our Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator at (602) 364-0108.