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What to Tell Formerly Furloughed Federal Workers

February 4, 2019
3:30 PM

If your customers were furloughed during the recent federal government shutdown and ask for payment flexibility, consider notifying your carriers. A new Delaware Department of Insurance (DOI) bulletin and a new state law encourage leniency for late payment of insurance premiums by impacted federal workers.

Late last week, the DOI released Universally Applicable Bulletin No. 4 encouraging insurers, producers, and other Department-regulated entities:

to take into consideration the difficulties residents have endured during the 2018/19 shutdown, until those affected begin to receive regular paychecks and have been reimbursed for monies past due.

The bulletin comes on the heels of legislation passed by the state General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Carney on Jan. 23 titled, the Delaware Federal Employees Civil Relief Act (HB 2/HA 1). The act permits a federal worker (must be a Delaware resident) who is furloughed or required to work without pay during a shutdown to apply to a court or administrative agency for a temporary stay, postponement, or suspension of any payment of rent, mortgage, tax, fine, penalty, insurance premium, or other civil obligation or liability. A court or administrative agency may grant such relief if it finds that the ability of the federal worker to pay such obligation has been materially affected by the shutdown. The length of stay may be for the period of the shutdown and 90 days thereafter.

The new law also prohibits the lapse, termination, or forfeiture of the health, life, disability, or motor vehicle insurance policy of a federal worker without a court order, provided that the policy was entered into by the federal worker before the date on which the shutdown began and was in effect during the shutdown.

In keeping with the new law, the DOI bulletin encourages insurers and producers to make efforts to assist affected policyholders and notes that those affected should:

notify their insurance carriers and agents that they are furloughed federal employees, and should request that their banks suspend automatic electronic premium payment withdrawals as necessary.

Read the bulletin