Covid-19 Insurance Resources
On this page, you’ll find resources to help employers, employees, and individuals. We will continue to update this page to make sure they are as up to date as possible.
RogersGray Office Update
Effective Monday, 3/16/20 all RogersGray offices will be closed to the public except by appointment. Our team is extremely conscientious and are working hard to ensure continuity of service to all clients in this quickly changing environment. If you believe you need in-person servicing (ex: RMV stamp) – please call 800-553-1801 to schedule an appointment or CLICK HERE for ways to conduct your insurance needs from your home or office during social distancing.
This measure will aid in the continued good health of both our clients and team members.
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IRS Relaxes Election Change, Other Rules for Cafeteria Plans and FSAs
As the country continues to feel the impact of the COVID-19 National Emergency declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020, the IRS has provided some much needed guidance and relief for employees. On May 12, 2020, the IRS issued Notices 2020-29 and 2020-33, which, among other things, extend the claims period for health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) and dependent care assistance programs (DCAPs) and allow employees to make mid-year changes.
Personal Auto Insurance Credits & Relief Programs
The on-going Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing financial hardships for many people throughout Massachusetts, the U.S. and beyond. Additionally, governmental shelter-in-place advisories have led to a significant decrease in road traffic and the average number of miles driven per day for many. In response, many of RogersGray’s personal automobile insurance carriers have started offering premium credits and are also making other billing accommodations for their customers.
We’ve assembled a list of some the leading auto insurance companies offering Personal Auto Insurance premium credits to their customers during these trying times.
Notice for NY State Policyholders - Gov. Cuomo Extends Deferrals of Insurance Premium Payments
A recent Executive Order issued by Governor Cuomo, together with recent amendments to the insurance and banking regulations (the “regulations”) issued by the New York State Department of Financial Services (“Department”), extend grace periods and give you other rights under certain property/casualty insurance policies if you are an individual or small business and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the novel coronavirus (“COVID‑19”) pandemic (“affected policyholder”). These grace periods and rights are currently in effect but are temporary, though they may be extended further. Please check the Department’s website at https://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumers/coronavirus for updates.
If you are an individual, generally, personal lines property/casualty insurance policies are covered by these amendments, including auto, homeowners’ and renters’ insurance. If you are an individual and an affected policyholder, please contact your insurer or broker if you are uncertain whether your policy is covered.
If you are a small business, only certain types of commercial lines property/casualty insurance policies are covered by these amendments, generally including property, fire, commercial general liability, special multiperil, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, commercial auto (including livery and other for-hire vehicles), and commercial umbrella insurance. A business qualifies as a “small business” if it is resident in New York State, is independently owned and operated, and employs 100 or fewer individuals. If you are a small business and an affected policyholder, please contact your insurer or broker if you are uncertain whether your policy is covered.
A copy of the Executive Order and regulations can be found at https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/no-20213-continuing-temporary-suspension-and-modification-laws-relating-disaster-emergency and https://www.dfs.ny.gov/system/files/documents/2020/03/re_consolidated_amend_pt_405_27a_27c_new_216_text.pdf, respectively.
Moratorium on Cancellation, Non-Renewal, and Conditional Renewal
If you are an affected policyholder, there is a moratorium on your insurer cancelling, non-renewing, or conditionally renewing your property/casualty insurance policy for a period of 60 days. If you do not make a timely premium payment and can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, your insurer may not impose any late fees relating to the premium payment or report you to a credit reporting agency or a debt collection agency regarding such premium payment.
Catching up on Overdue Insurance Payments
The regulations also require your insurer to permit you, as an affected policyholder, to pay the overdue premium over a 12-month period if you did not make a timely premium payment due to financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and can still demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This also applies if the insurer sent you a nonpayment cancellation notice prior to March 29, 2020.
Policies Financed by Premium Finance Agencies – Grace Period
If your insurance policy has been financed through a premium finance agency, and you, as an affected policyholder, do not make an installment payment, the premium finance agency may not cancel your policy for a period of at least 60 days, including any contractual grace period, and subject to the safety and soundness of the premium finance agency. In addition, if you do not make a timely installment payment to the premium finance agency, the premium finance agency must extend the due date for the installment payment by at least 60 days, may not impose any late fees relating to that installment payment, and may not report you to a credit reporting agency or a debt collection agency regarding that installment payment.
Catching up on Overdue Payments to Premium Finance Agencies
If you, as an affected policyholder, do not make a timely installment payment to the premium finance agency due to financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the premium finance agency must permit you to pay the installment payment over a 12-month period if you can still demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, subject to the safety and soundness of the premium finance agency. This also applies if the premium finance agency issued a non-payment cancellation notice prior to March 29, 2020.
How to Demonstrate Financial Hardship
If you, as an affected policyholder, are unable to make a timely premium payment due to financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may submit to your insurer or premium finance agency, as applicable, a statement that you swear or affirm in writing under penalty of perjury that you are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which the insurer or premium finance agency, as applicable, shall accept as satisfactory proof. Such statement is not required to be notarized.
If you have any questions regarding your rights under the Executive Order or regulations, please contact your insurer, broker, or premium finance agency.
FFCRA: New Rule and Guidance from DOL and IRS
New FFCRA Guidance in Temporary Rule and FAQs
The Department of Labor (DOL) has released rules related to administration of leaves under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and answered more common questions on their Questions and Answers page. Below are some key highlights to keep in mind when administering these leaves. We also recommend reading our summary of the FFCRA in Comply if you have not already done so.
- Documentation: Employers may not require more documentation from employees than is described below. For instance, employers may not request a doctor’s note or an official notice from a closed school or daycare.
- Childcare Provider: The definition of childcare provider includes anyone who generally cares for the children in question. This includes individuals paid to provide childcare, like nannies, au pairs, and babysitters, as well as individuals who provide childcare at no cost and without a license on a regular basis, for example, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or a neighbor.
- Reasons for Self-Quarantine: Employees are only eligible for emergency paid sick leave (EPSL) if a health care provider directs or advises them to self-quarantine because the health care provider believes the employee may have COVID-19 or is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
- EPSL due to Stay-at-Home Orders: In some narrow circumstances, an employee who is subject to a stay-at-home order may be able to receive EPSL. They will only be eligible if the business is open and has work for them to do, but a stay-at-home order that applies specifically to them as an individual prevents them from working. For instance, if the retail store where an employee works as a cashier is still open, but the employee is over 65 and subject to an executive order from their governor that all people over 65 should stay home, they would be eligible for EPSL.
- Exempt Healthcare Workers: The exemption for healthcare workers is optional and the DOL encourages employers to be judicious in denying leave (if someone is sick with something that looks like COVID-19, you are encouraged to provide them leave anyway, even if they could be exempted). Healthcare facilities should still post the Employee Rights Poster required by the FFCRA.
- Limited Small Employer Exemption: Although this is not new information, we want to reiterate that small employers are only potentially exempt from the childcare leaves provided by EPSL and emergency Family and Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) leave. For instance, one reason for exemption is that providing leave would cause the employer to cease functioning at a minimal capacity. If a single employee asks for intermittent childcare leave one day per week, but can telework the other four days, that is very unlikely to be a financial burden that causes the employer to cease operations. It would therefore be inappropriate (or illegal) for an employer to announce that they will not be considering or granting any childcare leaves.
IRS Guidance on Required Documentation for Leave Tax Credits
Employers have been anxious to find out what kind of documentation they will need to claim a payroll tax credit. The documentation that can be requested of employees is listed below. The IRS has a very helpful overview and FAQ that covers other common questions about the tax credits in detail.
Employers can substantiate eligibility for the sick leave or family leave credits by receiving a written request from the employee that includes the following:
- Their name;
- The date or dates for which leave is requested;
- A statement of the COVID-19 related reason they are requesting leave and written support for such reason; and
- A statement that they are unable to work, including by means of telework, for such reason.
For leave based on a quarantine order or self-quarantine advice, the request should include the name of the governmental entity ordering quarantine or the name of the health care professional advising self-quarantine. If the person subject to quarantine or advised to self-quarantine is not the employee, that person’s name and relation to the employee should be included.
For a leave request based on a school closing or child care provider unavailability, the statement should include the name and age of the child (or children) to be cared for, the name of the school or place of care that has closed, and a representation that no other person will be providing care for the child during the leave. If a child who needs care is 15 or older, the employee must affirm that there are special circumstances (but need not explain them) — the IRS otherwise assumes kids 15 and older can take care of themselves for the length of a workday.
According to the DOL, this is the extent of the documentation you may require.
We have an FFCRA Leave Request Form available in Comply that asks employees for the information necessary based on their reason for leave.
Restaurants – Addition of Delivery Drivers
We understand the need to be creative to keep sales flowing and employees employed. If you have added delivery services to your operations, please let us know because there are steps you need to take to cover yourself in this situation. For instance, the use of personal autos for delivery leads to coverage concerns but we know of at least one insurance company that specializes in restaurants that is looking to provide the coverage at no additional cost to the insured. Like the other points of interest on this page, this is also a very fluid situation and we are paying close attention to our insurance carriers.
RMV - By appointment only and limited offices open
The RMV has transitioned to appointment only. Please visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-registry-of-motor-vehicles for up to date information.
Only the following 7 RMV centers will be open effective March 18th until further notice. Click here for full notice
MA Announces $10 Million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
Baker-Polito Administration Announces $10 Million Small Business Recovery Loan Fund. Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 will have access to capital assistance
- Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 Dashboard
- World Health Organization COVID-19 Dashboard
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Family First Coronavirus Response Act
- Essential Services & Revised Gatherings Order (3.23.20)
- Link to Essential Services Download (3.23.20)
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Summary
- The Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Paycheck Protection Program Loan Application
- SBA Loan Guide and Checklist
- Paycheck Protection Program Loans | FAQs
Resources for Employers
- Benefit Advisors Network (BAN) Employer Reference Guide: Infectious and Communicable Disease Planning
- Employers COVID-19 Resource – Society for HR Management
- Business Insurance Coverage and COVID-19
- CDC Pandemic Business Planning Check List
- Famlies First Coronavirus Response Act Poster
- COVID-19 Employer FAQ
- Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Emergency Leaves of Absence | Considerations for Policies and Forms
- Coronavirus HR Support
- Return to Work Checklist
- Deciding Who to Recall from Furlough or Layoff
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Webinar Recording [5.22.20] Construction and Manufacturing | Reopening Guidance from Governor Baker
Governor Charlie Baker delivered guidelines for Phase 1 of reopening the Massachusetts economy on Monday, May 18th. Sector-specific guidelines have been highlighted and this webinar discussed those pertinent to the construction and manufacturing industries.
Jenifer Pinkham, Founding Partner, Phifer Pinkham LLC
Ryan Foley, MBA, CVA, EA, Partner, Cunningham
Greg Deems, Partner, RogersGray
Jeff Bastien, Vice President of Employee Benefits,
RogersGray Attendees are able to submit their questions in advance during registration so our speakers can address the topics most pertinent to you as an audience. Panelists will also be available to answer live questions during the presentation as they are submitted.
Webinar Recording [5.19.20] Business Reopening | Phase 1 from Governor Baker
Governor Charlie Baker spoke on Monday, May 18th to give clear guidelines on Phase 1 of Reopening Businesses in Massachusetts, including more details on what businesses are potentially set to resume operations.
In today’s webinar, Jenifer Pinkham, Founding Partner of Phifer Pinkham LLC, and Jeff Bastien, Vice President of Employee Benefits at RogersGray, reviewed the new guidance provided by Governor Baker surrounding Phase 1 of businesses reopening in Massachusetts.
Webinar Recording [5.15.20] COVID-19 Update and Gov. Baker's Multi-Phased Re-Opening Plan
On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Baker announced the four-phased approach to re-open the economy amid COVID-19. During this week’s webinar, Jenifer Pinkham, Founding Partner of Phifer Pinkham LLC, and Jeff Bastien, Vice President of Employee Benefits at RogersGray, gave updates on all things COVID-19, including a deeper look at the four phases in Governor Baker’s plan and what they may mean for your business.
While “Phase One” is tentatively scheduled as a gradual roll out beginning on Monday, May 18th, data relating to new cases and outbreaks will be closely monitored to drive the decision to move into the next phase.
Webinar Recording [5.8.20] Best Practices for Reopening Businesses Amid COVID-19
As states across the country ease restrictions, Massachusetts organizations are in the midst of planning for reopening their businesses with thought given to COVID-19 safety for clients and employees. Our panel of business leaders held a discussion around legal, HR, staffing, supply chain and client considerations needed in order to re-open.
Topics to included:
• Assessing the current status of your business:
– Employment Issues around the FFCRA and Unemployment/Furlough
– Where do you stand financially?
• Addressing what is needed to reopen:
– What’s your customer feedback?
o Do you need to adjust your business to accommodate for social distancing?
o Are there new policies you need to put into effect?
o Should your business model change at all? Can you adjust to more online business?
o What HR Practices do you need to consider?
• Planning for Re-Entry:
– Staffing & Training
– Legal Consideration for bringing back employees and client safely
– Reviewing Supply Chain
o Can you get access to PPE and sanitation products you need?
o Can you access the inventory and goods you need for your business?
Jenifer Pinkham, Founding Partner at Phifer Pinkham LLC
Jeff Bastien, Vice President, Employee Benefits at RogersGray
Gary Sheehan, President & CEO, Cape Medical Supply
Paul Gorman, President & CEO, South Shore YMCA
Webinar Recording [4.24.20] Marketplace Update | PPP Update, Assimilation & Business Continuity Strategies
Mark Henry of Citrin Cooperman & Jen Pinkham of Phifer Pinkham, LLC join Jeff Bastien of RogersGray for a marketplace update.
Topics to include:
• Payroll Protection Program Update:
– The federal government is expected to pass a bill that would replenish the PPP funding. It is expected to be an additional $300B in funding for PPP loans, $50B in Economy Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and $100B to Hospitals/Testing supplies.
– The initial $349B of PPP funds are arriving to businesses. We will outline best practices for administration, tracking, and self-auditing through the 8-week forgiveness period as well as what steps/information is needed to apply for forgiveness once that period is up
• Challenges business will face as they assimilate employees back into the workforce from layoffs/furloughs
• Business Continuity Strategies for the balance of 2020 and beyond
Webinar Recording [4.24.20] Solutions to Help with Cash Flow during COVID-19
If you’re a business struggling to find solutions to cash flow management during COVID-19, join Greg Deems and Jeff Cotto of RogersGray for a 30-minute webinar on finding solutions for payment of premium, adjustments to payrolls and ways to reduce costs without affecting coverage. We discussed several solutions that have helped improve cash flow for clients and how businesses can adjust exposures to a more realistic level during this time.
– Payment options across nonprofit, hospitality, construction and main street business
– Early audits to adjust payroll
– Reducing fleet expenses
– Carrier adjustments for business owners
Webinar Recording [4.22.20] State and Federal Legislative Update on Business Interruption Insurance; Proactive Preparation
As the insurance industry continues to grapple with a rapidly changing landscape surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, State and Federal governments are attempting to step in. This session will give a State and Federal overview of proposed legislation, including a discussion on the draft of the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020, a bill that would establish a Federal program for insurance industry losses related to the pandemic. This proposed legislation, would provide shared public and private compensation for Business Interruption (“BI”) losses resulting from a pandemic or other outbreak.
Notwithstanding the mechanism of recovery – whether through insurance or by state or federal law – businesses should proactively set up separate accounts in their internal accounting system and collect financial documents to support any losses related to COVID-19 expenses. The speakers will review the steps business owners can take to be prepared for documenting losses related to COVID-19.
Ken Yormark, CPA, CFE, CFF, CAMS
Partner | CitrinCooperman
President and CEO
Massachusetts Association of Independent Agents
Touchbase [4.16.20] Employer Update with Jeff and Jen
This week we gave a brief video update for employers who underwent workforce reductions. Click the link below for a quick discussion with Jenifer Pinkham, Founding Partner of Phifer Pinkham LLC and Jeff Bastien of RogersGray as they offer advice for employers.
Webinar Recording [4.10.20] HR Update | Adjusting to a Remote Workforce
This week’s HR Update webinar will focus on guiding employers through the best practices for HR teams and employers around this “new norm” of remote work.
Join EVP and Chief Human Resources Officer at Cape Cod Five, Laura E. Newstead, Lauren Mahoney, Vice President of Benefits, Compensation, and Employee Relations at Rockland Trust, and Allison McEachern, Chief People Officer at RogersGray for a discussion on the following:
• Adjusting to the remote workforce
• Best methods of communication
• Assisting employees who lack technological skill
• Maintaining a sense of connection and corporate culture fun
• Rolling out new benefits (FFCRA/COVID related, Telemedicine, etc.)
• General challenges an HR team may face
Webinar Recording [4.3.20] Marketplace Update | CARES Act & PPP
New legislation has been introduced at the federal level to address the economic issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this week’s Marketplace Update we will be discussing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We will be joined by Laura Jenkins, Mark Henry and Popi Barrett of Citrin Cooperman and Jenifer Pinkham of Phifer Pinkham LLC, to delve into the Act and its implications and benefits for businesses and employers.
Topics will include:
• Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
• Employee Retention Tax Credit
• Paycheck Protection SBA Loan Program
• Recession Readiness Tools
• Employment law scenarios for different businesses
• MA Governor Baker’s May 4th extension & new definitions of “essential employees”
Additional topics to be announced as new updates and developments occur.
Webinar Recording [3.27.20] Marketplace Update | FFCRA Q&A
- Layoff v. Furlough – Pros/Cons and details of each option
- Clarifying the FFCRA (Families First CoronaVirus Response Act) and the gap from now until April 1st
- FFCRA Sick Leave vs. other leave options
- FFCRA Family Leave vs. other leave options
- Employer responsibility for communication/documentation to employees, OSHA, & more
Webinar Recording [3.23.20] Marketplace Update | MA Shut Down Q&A
On Monday, March 23rd, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and state health officials issued a ‘stay-at-home advisory’, including the closure of nonessential businesses – that goes into effect 3/24/20 at noon.
We held a brief Q&A on this with Jenifer Pinkham of Phifer Pinkham, LLC and Jeff Bastien of RogersGray. The call discussed:
- What does Massachusetts Shut Down Mean
- Essential v. Non-Essential definitions
- Physical v. Remote Workspace
- What to do if your business is in the Essential Category
- What to do if your business is in the Non-Essential Category
Webinar Recording [3.20.20] Marketplace Update | COVID-19 & Its Impact on Businesses
As the world continues to be affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), businesses are being impacted tremendously by social distancing and imposed shutdowns. To help guide you through, we provided this marketplace update with employment attorney Jenifer Pinkham of Phifer Pinkham, LLC , Jeanne McLaughlin and Kay-Dee Pena from Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, Elizabeth DeMelo, Claims Resolutions Manager at RogersGray and others on COVID-19 and its impact thus far on our region’s businesses and employers.
- Legislation impacting small and mid-size businesses – including the Families First Coronavirus Act
- Employment Issues including: layoffs, eligibility for unemployment compensation, unpaid leave and continuance of benefits including health insurance, inquiries into employee’s health, medical condition and privacy, requiring essential employees to report to work and remote work arrangements
- BCBS; health carrier information, what carriers are doing to prepare and member responsibilities for COVID-related testing
- Business interruption, Workers Comp Information and OSHA Guidance
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What are the symptoms and complications that COVID-19 can cause?
Current symptoms reported for patients with COVID-19 have included mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Read about COVID-19 Symptoms.
Can Short Term Disability help pay for an employee who is in self quarantine?
Generally, no, however you should check with your STD carrier.
Am I covered for business interruption?
Coverage for Business Interruption is typically found under your Business owners or Commercial Property policy. Business Interruption coverage is intended to provide Loss of Income and/or Extra Expense when your property suffers “direct physical loss or damage.” Some policies may include contingent property business income, civil authority or crisis management enhancements that provide limited coverage not subject to the requirement of direct physical damage to your property. Each property and casualty policy is going to have specific terms and conditions that impact coverage.
In the meantime, if you believe you’ll have the grounds to make a claim, it is important that you retain any and all records relating to your loss of income or extra expenses to continue your business operations.
As your advocate, we will work with you at the time of a loss to secure a determination of coverage from your insurance company. In addition, the availability of financial assistance is still under consideration by the federal government.
Will insurers cover telehealth services related to COVID-19? (MA only)
The MA Department of Public Health has issued guidance that requires all commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. Insurers must do this without requiring cost-sharing of any kind – such as co-pays and coinsurance – for testing and treatment. PRESS RELEASE | ORDER
Can I renew my MA license?
All Class D and Class DM driver’s licenses, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits that have expired or are expiring between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will have a 60-day extension applied to the current expiration date. Visit RMV website for more information on all RMV services in MA.
Exposures – What if my Sales/Payroll is Down ?
Many commercial insurance premiums are based upon payroll and/or sales. We know that there are carriers that will be able to make mid-year adjustments to both based on the COVID-19 circumstances and we’re expecting them to become more flexible in this area. If this scenario applies to you, please reach out to your client manager so we can look further into this for you.
Where can I get information on Small Business Loans in MA?
A loan fund of $10 million has been created to provide financial relief to Massachusetts businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) will receive and process all applications for this fund.