California Extends Premium Relief Obligations

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Overview


On December 3, 2020, Commissioner Ricardo Lara of the California Department of Insurance (“Department”) indefinitely extended the requirement that admitted property and casualty and workers’ compensation insurers provide premium rebates or similar relief based on reduced risk exposures during the pandemic, and report such activity to the Department. The extension of these requirements also purports to apply to surplus lines carriers (similar to previous bulletins on this topic), but Bulletin 2020-8 cites no legal authority to require surplus lines carriers to comply.

On April 13, Commissioner Lara issued Bulletin 2020-3, requiring “All Property and Casualty Insurers and Workers Compensation Insurers” to provide rebates or similar premium relief based on reduced risk exposure for the months of March and April, and to report the measures taken to the Department. On May 15, Commissioner Lara issued Bulletin 2020-4 to extend the requirements of Bulletin 2020-3 until the end of June, but this Bulletin was addressed to “All Admitted and Nonadmitted Property & Casualty and Workers’ Compensation Insurers.” As we advised when Bulletin 2020-4 was first released, the Department “expected” and “hoped” that nonadmitted carriers would comply, but the Bulletin offered no legal basis for such a requirement.

Bulletin 2020-8, as amended, extends the premium relief and reporting obligations indefinitely, for as long as the “pandemic continues to result in projected loss exposures remaining overstated or misclassified.” A report on any premium relief provided for the months of September, October, November or December must be submitted to the Department no later than February 1, 2021, and thereafter within 30 days of the end of each calendar quarter. The Bulletin includes a link to an Excel workbook that can be used to report the relief provided during each relevant time period, and any such reports should be emailed to RSBCovid19PR@insurance.ca.gov. These reports are public.