California Commissioner Orders Premium Refunds in Response to COVID-19

On April 13, 2020, the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) issued a Bulletin ordering the refund of premium to drivers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 emergency. The implications of the Bulletin are complex and require consideration of various aspects of an insurer’s business model. Perr&Knight is having discussions with the staff at the CDI regarding their expectations for compliance with the Bulletin. We have extensive experience with rate, rule and form filings in California as we submit more filings to the CDI than any other consulting firm and will be assisting insurers with complying with the CDI requirements to ensure that the appropriate adjustments are made for the change in risk and/or reduction in exposure.

The Bulletin requires action of all companies who write the following lines of business in California:

  • Private passenger automobile insurance
  • Commercial automobile insurance
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
  • Commercial multiple peril insurance
  • Commercial liability insurance
  • Medical malpractice insurance
  • Any other line of coverage where the measures of risk have become substantially overstated as a result of the pandemic.

The following is required of each California insurer writing the lines above:

  1. By June 12, 2020, report the following information to the CDI:

a. An explanation and justification for the amount and duration of any premium refund, and how those measures reflect the actual or expected reduction of exposure to loss.

b. Monthly and overall California-specific totals for the following:

i. Percentage of refund applied,
ii. Aggregate premium prior to, and subject to, application of refund,
iii. Aggregate premium refund,
iv. Average premium before and after refund,
v. Average percentage of refund, applied to each policyholder,
vi. Number of in-force policies, and
vii. Number of policyholders receiving refund.

  1. By August 11, 2020:

a. Provide each affected policyholder, if applicable, with a notification of the amount of the refund, a check, premium credit, reduction, return of premium, or other appropriate premium adjustment.

b. Provide an explanation of the basis for the adjustment, including a description of the policy period that was the basis of the premium refund and any changes to the classification or exposure basis of the affected policyholder.

c. Offer each insured the opportunity to provide their individual actual or estimated experience. For automobile policies, this includes an invitation to provide updated mileage estimates as appropriate.

Perr&Knight is available to discuss any questions or unique situations with the CDI on your behalf. We can also provide information on what other companies have done, to the extent this information is publicly available in California or other states. Finally, we can prepare and submit your required report to the California DOI.

We expect that other states may issue similar bulletins. If there is anything that Perr&Knight can do to assist your company in California or any other state, please complete our contact form.