Public Announcements

     

    COVID-19 Important Memorandum

    Date:               Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    To:                   Members of the Texas Association of Health Underwriters (TAHU)

    From:              Tonya Booth, TAHU President

    Re:                  Important Updates on Emergency Orders, Bulletins and Document Regarding Insurance as an “Essential Service”

    In the event of a “Shelter-in-Place” order in their county or municipality and they are stopped by law enforcement, TAHU suggests that all insurance employees carry a copy of this memorandum and letter with them during their normal course of business.  This is not a guarantee that it will be accepted. 

    Each municipality has the authority to interpret the definition of an “essential business.” We recommend you contact your local government leaders and review their Orders for guidance as well. TAHU is advocating on behalf of our independent insurance agents and brokers and carrier representatives to achieve acknowledgement from the Texas state leadership that insurance is indeed an essential business. Some Orders already reference insurance agents, underwriters and/or brokers by name (Austin). Others define “Essential Services” as those professional services that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies needed to operate or necessary to assist with compliance of legally mandated activities (Dallas). In those cases, print out a copy of the actual Order and keep it handy along with proof of your TDI license. We will communicate news as soon as we have more information and get clarification. Thank you for serving your communities in this time of need.

    This letter is based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s memo on critical infrastructure workforce. For more clarification about specific jobs, visit: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce

    Here is the language about Financial Services:

    FINANCIAL SERVICES

    • Workers who are needed to process and maintain systems for processing financial transactions and services (e.g., payment, clearing, and settlement; wholesale funding; insurance services; and capital markets activities)
    • Workers who are needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending services, including ATMs, and to move currency and payments (e.g., armored cash carriers)


    UPDATES FROM TDI EFFECTING LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS

    The Texas Department of Insurance has created a special page with COVID-19 updates and resources. You can access it from their homepage at www.tdi.texas.gov

    In addition, there are several Bulletins of note to our members under “Guidance to the Industry” on TDI’s COVID-19 page. Yesterday the Commissioner adjusted licensing and continuing education requirements including waivers and extensions of many deadlines and fees. On Monday, he extended the Prompt Pay deadlines by 15 days and encouraged use of the Grace Period for premium payments. Last week the Governor relaxed telemedicine regulations to allow for increased use during the crisis. Both TDI and the TMB are releasing rules specific to their stakeholders on this issue. The website also lists the carriers agreeing to waive consumer costs for medically necessary testing of COVID-19. There are also helpful Q&As on Travel Insurance, Business Interruption and Workers’ Comp.

    Our lobbyists have asked TDI for some relief on Senate Bill 51 requirements around data feeds of employer terminations to carriers in light of the volume of terminations TAHU agents are receiving daily.

    As you no doubt have experienced, the situation is fluid and things are changing daily. We encourage you to check our resources at www.tahu.org, our Facebook and Linked In pages for up to the minute details.

    OTHER HELPFUL LINKS

    Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

    World Health Organization (WHO)
    https://www.who.int

    Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)
    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

    Texas Workforce Commission (TWC)
    https://twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-employers

    Texas State Comptroller
    https://comptroller.texas.gov/about/emergency/

    Stay calm and stay well.