California Orders Medical Malpractice Insurance Companies to Refund Premiums Affected by the COVID-19 Emergency Where Appropriate
April 13, 2020by
California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara ordered insurance companies to return insurance premiums to consumers and businesses and provide much-needed financial relief during the COVID-19 emergency. The Commissioner's Bulletin covers premiums paid for at least the months of March and April — including the month of May if “shelter in place” restrictions continue — in at least six different insurance lines: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile, workers' compensation, commercial multi-peril, commercial liability, medical malpractice and any other insurance line where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commissioner's Bulletin requires insurance companies to provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium or other appropriate premium adjustment as soon as possible, and no later than August 2020.
A premium refund will not require prior approval by the Department of Insurance if an insurance company follows certain methods outlined in the Commissioner’s Bulletin, such as using an average percentage based on estimated change in risk or exposure. Consumers will also have the opportunity to provide their individual actual or estimated experience to their insurance company.
Commissioner Lara also ordered insurance companies to report back to the Department of Insurance all premium refunds they have issued or expect to issue within 60 days, in order to provide oversight and ensure companies are complying with the Bulletin.