With the coronavirus outbreak impacting operations all across the country, we here at IAMS, Inc. felt it would be good to offer a space to roundup carrier updates and process changes. Check here often and as always, if you have any questions, please reach out at 1.800.255.5055.
Updated Underwriting Information
Effective Monday, January 11, 2021:
- All rated pending cases for ages 60-65 will be postponed
- We will eliminate the use of credits on all pending cases
The full COVID-19 underwriting update can be viewed here.
Contract Mailing Pattern Change
Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, all annuity New Business Contract Packages will be sent directly to the contract holder.
Currently all New Business Contract Packages are sent directly to agents for delivery to the client. AIG will mail the agent a Contract Data Page with the contract details. They will also be able to access the contract details via www.aig.com/Connext or www.aig.com/annuities .
Interim Transaction Processes
You can view a PDF of AIG’s interim transaction processes here. This includes information regarding email, accepting photos of forms for service requests, and more.
FireLight Order Entry
Effective May 4, 2020, AIG Annuities will launch the FireLight order entry platform on our Connext producer portal, making the application experience faster, more streamlined and less complicated. Training videos are available to aid in transitioning to the electronic entry system.
Underwriting Guidelines for Full Vaccinations
Special considerations for individuals who have had full vaccination against COVID 19 have been made.*
If a proposed insured can provide documentation of full vaccination against COVID 19, normal underwriting rules can be applied for cases within retention.
A copy of the vaccination card showing full vaccination has been completed will serve as documentation.
Please see the COVID 19 FAQs for additional details.
*Please note: We are monitoring this very closely and these guidelines may change as new information is developed regarding COVID-19, its variants and vaccinations.
More Life Insurance Without Underwriting Exams
American National is temporarily expanding its acceleration criteria in order to approve about 50% more cases without the usual medical exam and APS requirements.
In order to expedite these additional cases:
- Ages 50 and below
- Face amounts $100,000 to $1,000,000
- Many will have automatic table ratings applied
- If medical exam or APS can be obtained at a later date, we will re-underwrite to see if better class is warranted.
This is effective beginning April 1st to the following:
- All new business
- Current pending underwriting approval business starting with March submitted cases
Medical Director’s Message about the Coronavirus and ABR Claims
An Accelerate Benefit Rider (ABR) provides the potential to receive a partial or full accelerated life insurance benefit if the Insured contracts the coronavirus [or is diagnosed with COVID-19] and experiences all of the following:
Inability to complete certain activities of daily living for a period of 90 days (under the Chronic Illness Rider) or irreversible damage to an organ (lungs, liver, kidneys, or heart) secondary to the severity of the disease (under the Critical Illness Rider); andSignificant decrease in life expectancy.
While some Insureds may fall into this category after a severe infection, it is relatively uncommon. Contracting the coronavirus and experiencing symptoms will not necessarily result in an ABR payment.
Qualifying clients can get a fully underwritten life insurance policy without the need for lab work and medical exams, effective March 26, 2020. The new accelerated underwriting program will be available on all term and permanent life insurance products.
See more information here.
Ameritas accelerated underwriting without a paramed is automatic up to 300,000. 300,001 – 1million is upon agent request as noted on the transmittal within the eapp or paper app. They do reserve the right to order a paramed or APS but will do what they can to avoid these requirements. These are not new and part of their routine process.
This would apply to both the FLX term and UL products.
Revised Underwriting Guidelines
Effective immediately some temporary underwriting guidelines will be implemented on all new pending life insurance applications. We are taking a balanced, targeted risk approach rather than making changes for every type of client. Please review the guidelines for specifics. We will reevaluate the guidelines on June 30th, and any changes at that time will be communicated.
The new guidelines can be found here.
New Business Updates for Faster Policy Delivery
We are pleased to announce a system enhancement that will enable faster delivery of life insurance policies. Effective Monday, April 20th we will eDeliver policies using DocuSign for all newly issued policies. We understand this is different than how you normally conduct business with Ameritas. However, we have taken steps to improve our eDelivery strategy to help you continue to conduct business during this time when personal contact is limited.
eDelivery with DocuSign allows a PDF to be securely emailed to you rather than receiving printed copies via the United States Postal Service. Once you receive the notification from DocuSign, you can review the policy and then release the package to gather your clients’ signatures.
Virtual Business Processes
Virtual face-to-face sales are now acceptable, provided certain requirements are met. Allianz also offers electronic new business processing through its ApplyNow and New Business Tracker, as well as electronic document contract delivery.
Disability Insurance Application Postponements
Assurity is postponing disability applications if the client is not working enough hours due to the Corona Virus. This is the first question asked in the phone history interview.
New Age Limit for Life Insurance
After careful consideration, beginning Monday, April 27th and until further notice, applications for life insurance will not be accepted for applicants age 70 and older.
Applications received in-house prior to Monday, April 27th are unaffected by these changes.
If you have any questions, reach out to email@example.com or call us at 800-276-7619 Ext. 4264.
While Brighthouse has implemented work-from-home for its employees, the company remains fully operational and ready to serve.
Revised Guidelines for Conducting Telephone Underwriting Interviews Remotely
EquiTrust has announced revised guidelines for life sales completed from remote locations. You can view their guidelines by clicking here. One significant change is that the telephone underwriting interview may be conducted from two separate locations.
Express Imaging Services
A number of Express Imaging Services facilities are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Contact us for more details.
Temporary Certificate E-Delivery
New temporary Certificate e‑Delivery
Keeping you and your clients safe
Foresters Financial™ is introducing a few temporary measures to help you and your clients reduce the need for face-to-face contact.
Capturing your client’s email address on the application is the first step to ensure that the following temporary measures can take place.
Certificate e-Delivery: We’ll send your clients an email requesting consent to receiving their Foresters Welcome Package, including their certificate, via secure email. If your client consents, you will receive an email notifying you when the Package is sent. If there are delivery requirements, the email to you will also include a copy of the Certificate Statement (summary of certificate details) and the applicable documents requiring signature before returning to Foresters.
Delivery Requirements Submissions: Your clients can respond directly to the secure email received from Foresters to send wet signed documents back to us.
Photos or scans of forms and questionnaires: We will accept photos or scans of forms that are required after we have received the application for insurance but before issue and trailing documents requiring signature after issue. Documents must be legible and complete with both the “wet ink” signature and form number clearly visible in the photo or scan.
You can also securely submit photos or scans of the full, signed, form that you receive directly from your client to Foresters using SecureDocs.
In response to the current COVID‑19 (Coronavirus) health crisis, Foresters Financial™ is introducing a new questionnaire to help identify clients who may have been exposed to the virus.
It is important before starting an application to review the questionnaire with your client.
- The completed and signed questionnaire must be included with all applications signed on or after May 9, 2020.
- The questionnaire does not require an agent signature but does require completion, signature and return by the proposed insured (juveniles excluded) before the application for life insurance can be processed.
- For a paper application please download the questionnaire from ezbiz as it is not included in the application package.
Term, Advantage Plus II and SMART
Clients who provide a YES answer on the questionnaire will have their application postponed. Clients can reapply after 60-90 days depending on which question was answered YES. The postponement period starts from the date of testing, recovery or contact depending on the question.
For iPipeline iGO e‑App3 the questionnaire is included in the process.
Be prepared for May 9:
Transition rules (based on application lock date) for all states2 except for CA, NY and FL and when applicable are:
Applications locked on or after May 9, 2020, will include the COVID‑19 questionnaire.
To avoid any processing delays, applications locked but not signed or submitted on or before May 7, 2020, should be unlocked on or after May 9, 2020, in order for the COVID‑19 questionnaire to automatically load.
Please note that a maintenance window is scheduled for Point-of-Sale (POS) Decisioning (applicable for non‑medical iPipeline e‑Apps only) and will be unavailable from 11:59 pm ET Friday, May 7, 2020 to approximately 12:00 pm ET Sunday, May 10, 2020. The e‑App can be completed, but during this window a POS decision will not be generated.
|Clients who provide a YES answer on the questionnaire will only be eligible for Basic coverage.
Additional change effective May 11, 2020
Due to COVID‑19 Foresters will no longer be accepting PlanRight applications for anyone over age 75 until further notice.
Effective June 6th, in response to COVID-19 Foresters is introducing a new questionnaire¹ in California to help identify clients who may have been exposed to the virus.
For Your Term submits a YES answer on the application will result in the application being postponed and you can reapply after 60-90 days depending on which question was answered with a YES. The postponement period starts from the date of testing, recovery or contact depending on the question.
1 The questionnaire is required for all new Term, Advantage Plus II, and PlanRight submits signed on or after June 6, 2020 in California.
Effective May 9th, in response to COVID-19 Foresters is introducing a new questionnaire1 to help identify clients who may have been exposed to the virus.
For Your Term submits a YES answer on the application will result in the application being postponed and you can reapply after 60-90 days depending on which question was answered with a YES. The postponement period starts from the date of testing, recovery or contact depending on the question.
1 The questionnaire is required for all new business signed on or after May 9, 2020 in all states except New York, California, and Florida, at this time. This questionnaire is not required in North Dakota.
Global Atlantic / Accordia
Rate and Cap Reductions
Due to the current low interest rate environment, Global Atlantic Financial Group / Accordia announced significant cap and interest rate reductions on several of the IUL products. If you have existing clients with these products, contact us now to learn about what options you have.
Underwriting Guideline Changes — Effective September 1st
For situations where a client is reticent to meet with a paramed or where it may not even be possible, agents are encouraged to speak with the underwriter of their case. Additionally, the following guidelines apply to all pending and new applications:
- “We will require a statement in the “Special Instructions” box in Part I, Section L of the application indicating whether or not each proposed insured or any household member has within the past 30 days traveled or resided outside of the U.S. or has traveled by cruise ship, or has come into close contact with anyone known to the insured to have tested positive for COVID-19. If travel has occurred, we would also expect the statement to indicate where they traveled and when they returned. If an affirmative or negative responsive statement is not included in the application for each proposed insured, we may ask for an application amendment.
- As a reminder, any consultations with medical professionals or completed or pending tests by a proposed insured that are related to COVID-19 should be disclosed in response to the relevant questions on the application and/or supplemental application forms.
- In some cases, we may choose to defer an underwriting decision for a period of time (e.g., 30 days).”
At John Hancock Insurance we have taken the time to carefully review our underwriting practices to determine how we can evolve them in the current circumstances. While our normal underwriting practices continue, we are pleased to share three important ways we’re making it easier for you and your clients to secure coverage during these challenging times:
Establishing an alternative to paramed and/or exam when not obtainable
In cases where exams and labs are not possible, we may consider medical records as a substitute.1
For the following ages and amounts we will routinely consider recent and comprehensive medical records as an alternative to a current paramed or exam:
- Face amounts up to $5 million for ages 18-65
- Face amounts up to $3 million for ages 66-70
We may be able to apply this practice to face amounts up to $10 million for ages 18-60 and up to $5 million for ages 66-70, subject to individual case consideration
For these cases, medical records should include a comprehensive visit with a physical and labs within the last 12 months, accompanied by a completed Part II medical supplement form. All other submissions will be subject to routine age and amount requirements. Please contact your John Hancock underwriter with any questions.
Expanding John Hancock ExpressTrack® streamlined underwriting process to include paper applications with no need for a telephone interview
- Submissions must include the application (“Part I”), the medical supplement (“Part II”) and any other applicable authorizations
All application elements must be submitted simultaneously
- The medical supplement (“Part II”) is not automatically included in the application kit and it should be completed by the agent
Please see below for ExpressTrack criteria and other submission methods
Providing our capabilities for EHR access when APS is not available
We recognize it is difficult to obtain attending physician statements (APS) at this time. John Hancock Insurance has electronic health record (EHR) access capabilities that can be utilized in some cases where an APS is not available. Please contact John Hancock Underwriting for details and availability.
In addition to these enhancements, below you will also find other administrative updates. We hope you find all this information useful as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances together.
Expansion of ExpressTrack process
To help you continue to place cases as quickly as possible, we’ve expanded the ExpressTrack process. 2 Here’s what you need to know:
NEW! As we mentioned above, the traditional paper application has been added as an ExpressTrack submission option. Please remember, all submissions must include the application (“Part I”), the medical supplement (“Part II”) and any other applicable authorizations, and all elements must be submitted simultaneously. No telephone interview will be conducted. Please note: the medical supplement (“Part II”) is not automatically included in the application kit and it should be completed by the agent.
JH Life eTicket, iPipeLine’s Drop Ticket and ApplicInt Multi-Carrier Drop Ticket for term will include a telephone interview with the client to complete medical questions
JH Paper Ticket for all single-life products including LTC rider will include a telephone interview with the client to complete medical questions
ExpressTrack is not available with iPipeline’s iGO eApp
Here’s a list of ExpressTrack-eligible submission methodsExpressTrack eligibility criteria remain the same:
- Ages 18-60
- Face amounts up to and including $3 million
- All term and permanent single-life products, including the Long-Term Care rider
- Standard or better risk class
- All other submissions will be subject to routine age and amount requirements
No Longer Mailing Policies (as of May 7th)
Due to COVID John Hancock will only provide a PDF copy of the policy. The agent can print or forward to the client for delivery.
Additional underwriting updates:
We are excited to announce availability of facultative capacity up to $40M, up to and including age 59.
In addition, we have resumed accepting and processing applications on individuals up to and including age 90.
Facultative capacity was temporarily reduced to $15M; Facultative capacity grades down by age
Insurance age 90
Lafayette Life Insurance Company
Revised Underwriting Guidelines: COVID-19/Coronavirus
Paramedical Examination Alternatives
Lafayette Life is expanding our existing Accelerated Underwriting model to allow the use of a recently completed routine physical examination with a physician as a replacement for our paramedical examination. This program is available for ALL PERMANENT PRODUCTS and insureds meeting the following criteria:
Applicants age 18 to 55.
Risk amounts $100,000 to $1,000,000.
Click here for complete details
COVID-19 Revised Underwriting Guidelines
With conditions surrounding COVID-19 that continue to evolve, Lafayette Life has implemented revised underwriting guidelines. Click here for more details.
Legal & General
Temporary Guideline Updates
Effective April 8, 2020, for any pending or newly submitted formal applications, we’re offering additional solutions to underwrite without exams. In addition to our automated underwriting program, we’ve developed some temporary guidelines recognizing the current situation. Note, we’ll regularly review these guidelines and reserve the right to make changes at any time
Free Month of Life Happens
Life Happens — the non-profit insurance organization — is making their consumer education platform free for month to help agents with their sales outreach. New users will be given a code during sign-up.
Lincoln Financial Group
Work From Home Resource Center
Agents can access LFG’s digital process resource center here. This page outlines LFG’s e-App capabilities as well details information about underwriting, premium finance, and more.
COVID-19 Life Underwriting Changes
A number of temporary changes have been implemented due to the ongoing pandemic. You can view the latest underwriting guidelines (as of June 2020) here. View instructions for LFG’s LincExpress Tele-App here
No Longer Mailing Policies (as of May 7th)
Unfortunately due to the pandemic we are not mailing policies out at this time. Due to everyone working from home we do not have the capability.
We can have the case sent e-delivery if the agent is registered, or you can download a PDF of the policy from the website once issued.
Policy Delivery Changes
Starting 3/26/2020 – 4/30/2002 California policies will be sent direct to client via Fed Ed with self addressed envelope for payment. Photos of requirements can be emailed firstname.lastname@example.org by clients. Payments via phone 800-732-8939.
Mutual of Omaha
Important Updates from Customer Service
Currently, Mutual of Omaha will be abiding by regulatory guidance on a state-by-state basis regarding grace period extensions. More information about this and policy claims can be found here.
Life Insurance Policy Delivery
Beginning April 1, 2020, all life insurance policies with or without delivery requirements will be mailed directly to the policyholder.
Temporary Suspension of LTC for age 65
Throughout the rapidly evolving pandemic, Mutual of Omaha has been continuously evaluating our underwriting and new business practices to support business continuity, deliver a consistently high level of service, and maintain our financial strength. As a result, effective Thursday, April 16, 2020, we are implementing a temporary change. We will not be accepting LTC applications for individuals age 65 and older. All LTC cases not already approved or issued will be postponed and processed as an incomplete application. We will continue to prequalify applicants 64 and younger. The prequalification will be good for 60 days. If the health of the client changes or the prequalification is past 60 days, you will need to prequalify the applicant again.
Read the full notice here.
Resumption of LTC for Age 65
Beginning June 15, 2020, Mutual of Omaha will accept LTC applications for clients age 65 and over in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
All remaining states will continue to follow the temporary guidelines and processes outlined in our previous temporary underwriting guideline communication.
In addition, underwriters will initiate the scheduling of face-to-face assessments for LTC applicants age 65 and over after medical records have been received, reviewed and they are favorable for insurability.
Electronic Processing and Parameds
Per Mutual Trust:
- No restrictions if it’s not face-to-face – If you’re not face-to-face with your client when you obtain their application, just let us know when you fill out the Agent Report. Provide some notes or a cover letter with details and we’ll take it from there. We don’t have age or face amount restrictions on non-face-to-face sales.
- Electronic processing – From fillable application forms, to electronic signature options, to document upload capabilities, we’ve got an easy application process. Click here for the easy steps or call Sales Development at 800-323-7320, ext. 5140, and they’ll fill you in and answer your questions.
- Paramed Exams – Submit your application even if paramed facilities in your area aren’t meeting with clients. We’re exploring methods to work around this issue and hope to have a solution in place quickly. In the meantime, we’ll continue to gather as much underwriting information as possible to keep your cases moving.
- State Licensing – Agent licensing processes have been revised or changed due to government office closings. This is causing contracting and license renewal delays. Refer to nipr.com for more information.
Premium Payment Options
- Extension of Grace Period
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we will automatically extend your policyholder’s Premium Grace Period for 30 days and will continue to comply with any additional rules regarding payment or otherwise as mandated within your client’s state. Although we are taking these steps, our website may erroneously indicate that your client’s policy has lapsed as result of the premium not being paid on time. We hope that this due date extension will be helpful to individuals who may be experiencing financial setbacks due to the virus.
- Paying Premiums Through Automatic Premium Loans
Policyholders can pay premiums using their cash values by utilizing automatic premium loans. This feature automatically pays premium due once the grace period has expired. If your policyholder selected this option when they applied for coverage, they’re all set. If not, they can enact this feature by completing the Automatic Premium Payment on Default form.
- Premium Reduction
You policyholder’s premium can be reduced by permanently reducing the policy’s death benefit amount. A death benefit reduction is permitted as long as the policy’s minimum coverage amount is still maintained. Reducing the death benefit will allow your client to maintain valuable life insurance coverage while reducing their premium obligation.If your client’s policy includes a Paid-Up Additional Insurance Rider, they can reduce their premium payment for the rider within guidelines ($100 annual minimum on the current version of the rider) and still keep the rider in force. If they have been paying a greater amount for the rider, this may be a way for them to reduce their expenses. Note that the performance of the rider is impacted by the amount of premium paid.
- Paying Premiums from Policy Values (PPV)
Clients may elect to pay Premiums from Policy Values (PPV). PPV surrenders a portion of the policy’s accumulated dividends and PUA riders to pay the premium due. This will allow the base policy to remain whole while the premium is paid as it becomes due. Clients can initiate PPV by completing the Premium Payments from Policy Values form.
National Guardian Life
Partial Claim Payouts
Since it may not be possible for funeral services to be held immediately after the passing of a policyholder, NGL will pay for medical services (provided the policyholder was receiving covered medical assistance) and issue remaining balances when services are held.
Through NGL’s Voice Signature Process, it is possible for agents to writer NGL products without meeting in person.
Grace Period Extension
As part of their COVID-19 response, NGL has extended policy grace periods to 120 days, before lapse of coverage due to non-payment occurs. With this policy change, previously lapsed policies from the last week may become reinstated, in which case policyholders will receive a notice of reinstatement. Commissions on first year policies will not be charged back until 120 days past due have occurred.
National Life Group
EZ Underwriting Limits Now $3 Million
NLG has temporarily raised the threshold for its EZ Underwriting to $3 Million on all permanent life insurance policies. Apps can be taken in-person or via video conference.
Coronavirus and Accelerated Benefit Riders
NLG recently released a flier offering insights on if and when an Accelerated Benefit Rider may apply with regards to a Coronavirus infection. To sum, infectious disease is generally not a qualifying event to trigger the ABR, but a covered critical illness can, or if the condition progresses to a terminal status. Additionally, an individual may be able to accelerate benefits if they qualify for a chronic illness rider and are unable to perform Activities of Daily Living.
Grace Period Extension on Life Insurance
National Life Group will extend grace periods on inforce life policies for 60 days from the date the premium is due. Insurance coverage will remain inforce during this 60-day period. We will allow 90 days to pay premiums due without reinstatement requirements, as long as the insured is living.
This extended grace period is not intended to change the terms of a policy or be considered a forgiveness of the premium. Rather, it is intended to grant your policyholder an extended grace period for the payment of their premium due without penalty or interest.
In cases where individual states have provided more expansive provisions (i.e., longer grace periods), we will follow those guidelines.
Annuity Interest Rate Changes Coming Sept. 29th
NLG recently announced that they are making annuity interest rate changes beginning September 29th. For a policy to be issued with today’s current rates, it must be funded and issued prior to the dates shown on the rate change sheet. View the sheet below.
North American has rolled out its WriteAway initiative for paper applications. The potential benefits of this are accelerated underwriting utilizing an online process, that can result in quicker turnaround times and commissions paid. This only applies to applications with a signed date of March 30th, 2020 or after.
Agents and advisors can learn more about WriteAway Underwriting here:
Flexibility on Submitted Business
North American has extended timeframes for cases pending underwriting requirements and receiving premiums.
From North American:
We will extend the time that a case can stay pending while we wait for underwriting requirements from 60 days to 120 days.
We will extend our deadline for receiving premiums (after the policy has been issued) from 30 days to 45 days.
Electronic Copy of Policies
Effective immediately, upon request, we will provide a PDF copy of the life insurance policy. You can make this request through your new business contact. Keep in mind, this is not a replacement for the printed version of the policy, but a quick way to get a copy of the policy in the hands of clients.
Doing Business Digitally
North American offers a new “Doing Business Digitally” guide that offers basic sales tips integrated with their digital processes.
Max Premium Now $1 million, Per Product, on All Products
Effective immediately, North American is lowering the maximum premium, per product, without home office approval from $3 million to $1 million on NAC IncomeChoice®, Performance Choice®, and North American Charter® Plus fixed index annuities plus North American Guarantee ChoiceSM multi-year guarantee annuities. Exception requests are generally turned around same-day.
Electronic Policy Pages
NEW – In addition to our normal process of mailing newly issued policies to you, within 5 days after issue, we’ll also send policy pages in a PDF file to the primary writing agent’s email of record in a secure email.
NEW – We will accept copies of signed delivery receipts. Your clients can sign, scan or take a picture, and send to you. The receipt can then be submitted to us by email, secure upload, or mail.
You can access North American’s COVID-19 resource portal here:
Temporary Policy Postponement Guidelines
Click here to view guidelines regarding temporary life policy postponement on new and pending business.
Per Pacific Life:
Certain Life Insurance Applications Temporarily Postponed For applicants that meet either of the following criteria, we are temporarily postponing acceptance of all applications for PL Promise Term and PL Promise GUL:
- Individuals aged 71 and older; or
- Individuals of any age rated worse than a Table Four.
We will accept formal applications received today by 5 p.m. Pacific Time, and we will continue processing those cases we currently have in house. We will not accept any new applications meeting the criteria until the temporary restrictions are lifted.
Good Health Statement
“Effective March 26, 2020, any coverage approved on life insurance applicants aged 60 or older will require a Statement of Health to be signed on delivery. (This requirement does not apply to applicants for single payment whole life insurance.)”
This signals the carrier is trying to make sure high-risk individuals (i.e. those aged 60 or older) don’t have COVID-19 before issuing a policy.
Important Regulatory and Compliance Update — Producer Notice Obligations
New York – Guidance to Insurance Producers Regarding Electronic Delivery of Notices Pursuant to New 11 NYCRR § 229.5(b) and 3 NYCRR § 405.6(b)(4)
Protective Life & Annuity Insurance Company would like to inform you of guidance from the State of New York related to practices during the COVID‑19 public health pandemic.
New York Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.13 and the emergency adoption of 11 NYCRR 229 (INSURANCE REGULATION 216) INSURER PRACTICES DURING THE COVID‑19 PANDEMIC by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS).
In order to assist policyholders impacted by the COVID‑19 pandemic, Executive Order 202.13 and Regulation 216 requires insurers to take specific actions to alleviate the adverse impact caused by the pandemic on policyholders who can demonstrate financial hardship. Specifically, to extend to 90 days the grace period for the payment of premiums and fees, and for the exercise of rights, under life insurance policies and annuity contracts.
The New York Department of Financial Services (“Department”) has also issued guidance to address challenges insurance producers (“Producers”) are facing, complying with the notice obligations in new 11 NYCRR § 229.5(b) and 3 NYCRR § 405.6(b)(4) described below.(“Notice Obligations”).
First, regarding obtaining consumers’ consent to electronic communications, please see the Department’s “Current Guidance Regarding Electronic Signatures, Transactions, and Filings with DFS.”
Second, the Department is accommodating Producers by reducing their burden to fulfill the Notice Obligations during the current state of emergency. Specifically, for the duration of the current state of emergency, Producers may comply with the Notice Obligations by emailing the notices to the consumers for which the Producers have email addresses, regardless of whether the consumers have consented to receiving this notice via email. Model notices, designed for Producers to use in meeting the Notice Obligations, can be found at the bottom of this page.
Producers with websites should post the information on their websites as soon as possible. The Department also encourages supplemental dissemination of the content of the Notice Obligations by other means, including social media.
Finally, Producers should maintain records of their communications with consumers, electronic or otherwise, used to satisfy the Notice Obligations for a period of time sufficient to satisfy applicable statutes of limitation and, where an action or claim is pending, for such period of time until the matter is resolved. See Office of General Counsel Opinion 05-03-32 (March 24, 2005). In addition, if a Producer obligated itself by contract with its principal, the insurer or insured, to retain records for a period of time, then such obligation, if legally enforceable, must be satisfied, subject to an alternative acceptable to the principal. These communications used to satisfy the Notice Obligations may be subject to Department review, including but not limited to, on examination.
Below is a summary of the insurance producer requirement in the relevant emergency regulations.
New 11 NYCRR § 229.5(b) and 3 NYCRR § 405.6(b)(4) require a licensed insurance producer who services an in-force life insurance policy, annuity contract, or fraternal benefit society certificate or who procured a property/casualty insurance policy for the policyholder or contract holder to mail or deliver notice to the policyholder or contract holder of the provisions of 11 § NYCRR 229 and 3 NYCRR § 405.6 within ten business days following the promulgation of 11 § NYCRR 229 and 3 NYCRR § 405.6.
Below are links to model notices that Producers can use to satisfy their Notice Obligations described above. PRODUCERS MUST ONLY SEND THE APPROPRIATE NOTICE TO THE APPROPRIATE CONSUMERS TO AVOID CONFUSION.
Extended Grace Periods
We will extend the grace period for premium due dates for customers who have been impacted by COVID-19. To receive an extension, the customer must call us at 800-866-9933. Please be aware that some states have issued specific guidelines about grace period extensions, and in those states, we will follow their guidelines.
Notice of Protective’s policy of extending grace periods for customers who are impacted by COVID-19 is provided on a webpage on Protective.com that provides information about our response to the unprecedented situation posed by COVID-19.
Please note that we are not able to suspend the systematic mailing of notices that a policy may lapse or may have lapsed. Therefore, even customers who are approved for grace period extensions may continue to receive lapse notices. We know this may create some confusion and wanted you to be aware in case customers ask you about these notices. We will also explain this when customers call us. All calls are recorded, and a voice confirmation code will be given to these customers for verification. Upon request, Protective will email your customer the details of the grace period extension approved for that individual.
Individual Life Insurance Changes
- We’re reducing caps and credited rates for IUL products. We strive to balance financial discipline and impacts to the index accounts and the upside they can offer. However, significant changes in interest rates and market volatility caused IUL index parameters to be adjusted. The new spreads and caps for impacted index accounts will be effective for index segments beginning April 15.
- We’re restricting single pays on Universal Life products. As a result of significant decreases to current interest rates, we will restrict single and short pay sales on all UL products, excluding VUL, effective April 13.
- We’re suspending sales of 30-year Term products until June. There will be a temporary suspension of Term Essential / Elite 30-Year Reprice Term Essential and Term Elite, effective April 13. Our goal is to reprice and reintroduce Term30 sales in June.
- We’re revising the large case review thresholds for UL Protector, SUL protector and SIUL. Effective April 13, they will be the same thresholds already in place for IAUL, Founders Plus, and Essential UL, which is at least $1M of total premium in any policy year. All other products (mainly VUL) would stay the same at $5M in year one and $1M in other years.
- We’re increasing pricing on UL protector. To restore and maintain profitability, we will increase pricing on UL Protector, effective April 27. The new rates will result in an average increase of 8 to 12% in all states (except New York) depending on age, underwriting class, and premium funding patterns.
Effective 4/13 Product Changes and Transition Rules
Term Essential 30 and Term Elite 30 will be suspended temporarily
Large case review amounts will be adjusted for UL Protector, SUL Protector, and SIUL. All UL products will require home office approval if premium in any year is equal or exceeds $1m Premium restrictions for UL products equal to 8xCTP for single life products and 10xCTP for survivorship products – premiums cannot exceed those amounts in any of the first 3 years.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND HERE:
New Business Life Insurance Applications
- Application Submission: Please submit your new business through the PruXpress Worksheet (linked with online eClient Interview) or an approved Ticket Platform. Either method will enable you to initiate life cases without in-person contact with clients AND enable all cases matching the criteria to be considered through Prudential’s PruFast Track (accelerated underwriting program), minimizing the need for additional medical requirements. Please refrain from using the traditional “long form” application, as this approach relies on in-person contact and typically requires more effort from the client and medical requirements.
- Risk Assessment: Prudential’s Underwriters are committed to assessing cases with minimal medical requirements. Maximizing the number of cases that are assessed through PruFast Track is critically important to reduce the need for paramedical exams, labs, and attending physician statements (APS). Cases will NOT be eligible for PruFast Track if medical requirements are submitted with the application or indicated to have been ordered. To ensure as many cases as possible qualify for PruFast Track, Prudential will be taking on the responsibility for ordering medical requirements on all cases. Additionally, Prudential will be expanding use of electronic medical records (Human API) along with other methods to drive fast decisions with minimal requirements. We understand that historically, some of our distribution partners have preferred to order requirements independently, but during these challenging times, the best approach is to allow Prudential to carefully assess the need for requirements and order directly, only if needed.
- Electronic Policy Delivery: We must work together to move fully to electronic policy delivery in this environment, to meet customer needs for social distancing. While traditional, paper policies will continue to be available on an as-requested basis, Prudential will shift to issuing the majority of policies in an electronic method. Specifically:
- eDelivery: eDelivery is available on all term policies and perm policies.* The current eDelivery process requires a completed eConsent form prior to issue, and while work is underway to improve the process by moving the eConsent form to delivery, to simplify handling during these challenging times your case manager is available to work with you on in-the-mill cases that do not have a completed eConsent form, to change the delivery method to eDelivery, without requiring the eConsent prior to policy issue.*Note the following eDelivery restrictions: NY Replacement, Guam, Multiple-Owners, Trust or Entity Ownership, Juvenile, Survivorship, or Policies with Confidential Letters.
- eIssue: Includes all cases not eligible for eDelivery. With this process, an email and link to the PDF policy (accessed through the PruXpress website) will be sent to the producer or BGA case manager. The producer may use the PDF policy for delivery with the client and must return the delivery paperwork to Prudential. This currently requires a wet signature on the delivery requirements; however, your case manager is available to discuss options to simplify this delivery process including DocuSign and smartphone pictures of documents as a temporary solution to address in-person meeting limitations. We expect this to be widely available within the next 3 – 5 business days.
- Paper policies: In unique situations where paper policies are requested, your case manager is available to provide assistance in situations where alternative mailing addresses are needed.
Process Changes in response to COVID-19:
- File Closures: In situations in which cases are closed due to outstanding pre-issue requirements, Prudential will be extending the period of time in which cases can be reopened by 30 days on COD (cash on delivery) cases. Extensions will not be available for pre-paid cases unless there is assurance that the final requirement is en route to Prudential.
- Placement period extensions: An extension of 30 days is available for all COD cases. Placement extensions will not be available for pre-paid cases unless delivery can be completed within 5 days (and a new MIB will be requested along with a Good Health Statement).
- Not-taken reversals will be restricted to 30 days (new MIB to be run on all cases and Good Health Statement required).
- 1035 Exchanges: Other carriers have indicated that there may be delays processing 1035 Exchange funds, so please understand that there could be longer than anticipated delays with these requests based on the response time from other carriers. Outreaches will continue to be made to confirm other carrier receipt of the 1035 fund request.
- Life Exam/Lab Vendor Update: Prudential is working closely with our vendors and actively monitoring the impact and spread of COVID-19. Ensuring our applicants’ safety, as well as the safety of the individuals who work for our vendors, is critically important. While we have received confirmation from the Paramedical vendors that exams can be completed in most states without restrictions, we are partnering with the Paramedical vendors to determine the volume of cancellations and reschedules. Please keep an eye out on PruXpress.com for more information.
- Your New Business Case Management resources continue to be available to you, with no changes in operation hours. New business work will be prioritized each day based on pending and incoming volume. High-priority work like Application Data entry, Policy Issuance, and Placement will be given the most focus. At this time, there could be delays of up to 5 business days beyond our normal processing times in many areas.
- Life Commissions will be prioritizing work each day based on pending and incoming volume. High priority work that impacts compensation will be given the most focus. At this time, there could be delays of up to 10 business days beyond the normal service time for Transfers/Service Agent Change requests. Please do not submit second requests or follow-ups, as this will contribute to further delays.
- Post Issue will prioritize work each day based on regulatory requirements. Variable financial transactions, COVID-19 related requests, and death claims will have the highest priority, followed by all remaining financial transactions. At this time, there could be delays of up to 5 – 10 business days beyond our normal processing times in many areas to ensure that we are able to comply with our regulatory requirements.
Sagicor’s Accelerwriting (eApplication, no fluids or parameds, and eDelivery) is available on all Sagicor life insurance products. MYGAs and FIAs can also be submitted through eApp.
According to Sagicor following underwriting guidelines are now in place:
- All applications of applicants who have traveled internationally within the past 30 days will be postponed for 30 days from the date of their return, unless prohibited by state law.
- All applications of applicants with future international travel plans in the next 90 days will be postponed.
- Anyone exposed to the COVID-19 infection will have their application postponed for 30 days and will be reconsidered with evidence showing no current disease.
- A good health statement will be required on all cases. This good health statement will attest that there has been no change to the applicant’s health from the time of submitting the application.
Sagicor has implemented two very notable changes with regards to policy delivery. The first, the only option for life insurance policy delivery is electronic. The second is the removal of the max payment rule of $2,000 for eDelivery.
Products Available Through eApp
During our time of social distancing, Sagicor’s MYGA, Sage Secure FIA and Sage Select Bonus FIA are available via eApp, with no face to face interaction needed. For policy delivery, we can also mail the policy direct to the client with an email authorization from the agent. Current rates are attached here.
Changes to COVID-19 participation guidelines to be implemented January 1, 2021
Securian Financial remains focused on delivering high levels of service, helping customers with their insurance needs and maintaining the company’s financial strength. Your support in delivering on this focus has provided valuable insights to best navigate the unpredictable nature of a pandemic while addressing the additional risks it presents.
We are pleased to announce the following changes to the temporary COVID-19 participation guidelines effective January 1, 2021:
Expanding the issuance of second-to-die policies when one insured age 75 or younger receives a standard or better mortality evaluation, the other insured must be rated:
§ Table H (300%) or better if insurance age is 50 or younger;
§ Table F (250%) or better if insurance age is 51 through 60;
§ Table D (200%) or better if insurance age is 61 through 70;
§ Table B (150%) or better if insurance age is 71 through 75.
Expanding the issuance of SecureCare Universal Life (UL) policies to include applicants assessed at mortality Table B (150%) or better. All others will be postponed until at least March 31, 2021.
WriteFit1 expansion to $3,000,000 for applicants ages 18-50 will continue.
All other participation guidelines, including money not being accepted with new applications and temporary insurance agreements not being available, continue until March 31, 2021. For a full list of the participation guidelines effective January 1 and continuing through March 31, 2021, please see below.
Participation guidelines effective January 1 through March 31, 2021:
The maximum face amount for WriteFit applicants ages 18 through 50 is being continued at $3 million. Applicants ages 51 through 60 continue to be eligible for up to $1 million of coverage via the WriteFit platform. Eligibility for WriteFit is determined by answers to the tele-interview.
Traditional Life Underwriting (includes underwritten policy changes)
§ Insurance ages 76 and older: new applications will not be accepted.
§ Insurance ages 61 through 75: Applicants assessed at Standard or better rates will be issued. All others will be postponed until at least March 31, 2021.
§ Insurance ages 51 through 60: Applicants assessed at Table C (175%) or better rates will be issued. All others will be postponed until at least March 31, 2021.
§ Insurance ages 50 and younger: Applicants assessed at Table F (250%) or better rates will be issued. All others will be postponed until at least March 31, 2021
§ Second-to-die policies with one insured age 75 or younger receiving a standard or better mortality evaluation, the other insured must be rated:
§ Table H (300%) or better if age 50 or younger;
§ Table F (250%) or better if age 51 through 60;
§ Table D (200%) or better if age 61 through 70;
§ Table B (150%) or better if age 71 through 75.
§ Money will not be accepted with new applications until at least March 31, 2021, and temporary insurance agreements will not be available during this time.
SecureCare Universal Life (UL) Underwriting
§ Ages 76 and older: new applications will not be accepted.
§ Ages 75 and younger: mortality evaluation will need to be Table B (150%) or better for a SecureCare UL policy to be issued. Applicants who would be rated Table C (175%) or worse will be postponed until at least March 31, 2021.
§ Money will not be accepted with new applications until at least March 31, 2021; and temporary insurance agreements will not be available during this time.
As a mutual holding company, we take a long-term approach that positions us strongly regardless of what happens in the economy. We will continue to actively monitor COVID-19 data and make decisions that enable us to continue to deliver high levels of service, help customers with insurance needs, and maintain the company’s financial strength.
During unprecedented times like these, we are grateful for strong relationships. Thank you for your business as we navigate these challenging times.
Enhanced Underwriting Options – COVID-19
Transamerica has issued new enhanced underwriting options.
To view more details, click here.