COVID-19 Resource Page

 

COVID-19 Resource Page

General Information

The Insurance Compact has received numerous questions about how the Uniform Standards apply to forms and other submissions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in the economy. This page of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is provided as an overview and resource for the purpose of assisting filers and regulators in understanding the applicable requirements of the Uniform Standards and filing processes. Please be aware of the following general caveats for these FAQ:

  • Updates and additions to the FAQ questions on this page will be noted by date. If you can see the date updated, you are seeing the entire answer.
  • The Uniform Standards referred to in the FAQ are generally from the individual life insurance product lines. Requirements of other product lines may vary.
  • The principles and requirements of Mix and Match have not changed, including that all forms making up an application are to be filed for Insurance Compact review rather than bifurcated between state and Insurance Compact review. See Question 3 under Section C. Frequently Asked Application Handling Questions, for more information on this point.
  • The pre-filing communication process is open and available for questions from company filers about Uniform Standards requirements.
  • The Insurance Compact Office is fully operational. The Insurance Compact’s platform is a remote, virtual environment poised to provide seamless reviews in SERFF in both the regular and expedited review queues.
  • The eligibility requirements for expedited review have been loosened for filing submissions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consult the expedited review information on the Insurer Resources page and direct any inquiries to Comments@insurancecompact.org.

Related Weekly Tips

The Insurance Compact Office has issued the following weekly tips for filers looking to make changes to submitted product filings as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All Insurance Compact weekly tips are published to the Weekly Tips Archive.

expand Mix and Match Refresh – Supplemental Applications (4/16/20)

Is your company considering filing a supplemental application or questionnaire about COVID-19 with the Compact? Please remember that in general, a supplemental application or questionnaire may NOT be filed with the Compact for use with a state-filed main application.

As a quick refresher, the Insurance Compact’s Mix and Match process derives from §111 of the Operating Procedure for the Filing and Approval of Product Filings (“Product Filing Rule”), which permits Commission Product Components to be used with State Product Components, provided the Statement of Intent identifies the approved State Product Components that will be used with the approved Commission Product Components. Product components are defined in §102 of the Product Filing Rule. The permissibility of Mix and Match is specifically noted on the first page of each set of Uniform Standards (located right after the Scope section).

Mix and Match is available for application forms filed with the Compact, however the Mix and Match of parts of an application contravenes the Uniform Standards requirement that “the filing shall include all the sections and questions that may be required to be completed by an applicant, including additional drop downs, scripts, questions, questionnaires or supplements that would be required if the applicant answers questions in a certain way, such as a ʽyes’ response.” (See § 1A(5), General, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards).

The exceptions to this requirement are:

  • A filing company is transitioning to the use of exclusively Compact-approved application forms within a reasonable amount of time, or
  • A filing company is transitioning to use previously approved Compact applications in Insurance Compact member states new to join the Insurance Compact, or new to the company’s Insurance Compact portfolio.
  • Filers can provide the e-sign authentication for several previously approved forms in a single SDU filing.

expand Updating Compact-Approved Application Format (3/26/20)

Is your company looking at ways to facilitate social distancing by expanding paper applications to electronic or telephonic use? If so, read on! We have compiled several facts and pointers for you to keep in mind when deciding what type of filing is needed to enable these changes if none of the language of the approved form(s) is changing.

How can a company filer update an approved filing to reflect the use of an additional format?

Filing Information Notice (FIN) 2017-1 governs the process for revisions to forms and supporting documentation in Compact filings.

If there is a change to the format of the application or the company’s procedures to verify the authenticity of an electronic or telephonic transaction, either an amendment or Supporting Documentation Update (SDU) filing is required to update compliance with the Application Use submission requirement. Both methods require Compact filing fees. An SDU filing may also require state filing fees; for more information, please see the Member State Supporting Documentation Update Fees chart published on the Insurer Resources page of the Insurance Compact website.

  • Per FIN 2017-1, if a filing was approved fewer than 90 days ago and has not been implemented, the filing can be reopened to amend the Application Use section.
  • If the filing has surpassed the 90-day threshold that would allow it to be reopened for certain changes, you can update the filing for the electronic application process by submitting a new SDU filing, provided there are no changes to the approved form language. Create the new filing, provide the necessary supporting documentation, including the Application Use submission requirement on the Supporting Documentation tab, and associate the original filing(s) to the new SDU filing.

What provisions of the application uniform standards should filers refer to when preparing to update their filing(s)?

The application uniform standards all contain a provision requiring the filer to identify the format in which the application will be used. In the Individual Life Application Uniform Standards (IIPRC-L-I-APP), this provision is Section 1A(10). Note: this requirement is different from Section 3L, which concerns electronic delivery of the product forms and other notices upon and after policy issue.

(10) A statement of how the application will be used, such as paper, electronic, and/or telephonic. For electronic and telephonic uses, the company shall:

(a) Describe the procedures that will be used to verify the authenticity of the transaction; and […]

Additionally, for telephonic uses the company shall describe the process by which the applicant is given the completed application for signature prior to or on the date the policy is issued

  • For compliance with part (a) of this requirement, an explanatory paragraph is sufficient to explain the authentication process. We do not need sample attachments or vendor specifications. Requirements under UETA and ESIGN are outside of the form content requirements of the Uniform Standards.
  • Filers can provide the e-sign authentication for several previously approved forms in a single SDU filing.

expand Revising the GMIR for Compact-Approved Policies (3/16/20)

In connection with current national economic conditions, the Insurance Compact has received questions regarding if and how a company can change the policy Guaranteed Minimum Interest Rate (GMIR). The GMIR may be lowered for new issues of an Insurance Compact-approved policy, and the filing approach varies by the approach taken to identify the GMIR in the previously approved filing. The Variability of Information section of the Uniform Standards for each applicable product provides that the GMIR for account value may be bracketed to denote variability and may be changed upon prior approval. 

FILING NOT REQUIRED if the GMIR is:

  • A variable item on the filed policy, the statement of variability provides a range, the new rate will be within that range,  and the actuarial memorandum demonstrates nonforfeiture compliance for all values in the range for which the GMIR will vary.

FILING REQUIRED if the GMIR is:

  • A variable item on the filed policy and the statement of variability provides a range but the actuarial memorandum demonstrates nonforfeiture compliance for only the then current GMIR;
  • A variable item on the filed policy and no range is provided in the statement of variability or the company wishes to use a value outside of the filed range; or
  • Not a variable item.

If a filing is required as described above, compliance could be reached with a Supporting Documentation Update filing to (1) revise approved variable or (2) make a non-variable item variable going forward.  For information on submitting a Supporting Documentation Update filing please review FIN 2017-1.

Please remember that any filing to revise the GMIR requires an actuarial memorandum demonstrating nonforfeiture compliance for the requested GMIR, and if a range is provided in the statement of variability then the actuarial memorandum must either (1) demonstrate nonforfeiture compliance for all values in the range for which the GMIR will vary or (2) include only the current GMIR and state that any change or modification to the GMIR will be submitted to the Insurance Compact for prior approval. 

An alternative option for revising the GMIR would be a new filing that provides an endorsement to the policy and an actuarial memorandum. Note that such an endorsement could only be attached to new issues and cannot be used to change inforce policies.

Do not forget the Insurance Compact’s Expedited Review Program should you need a filing reviewed and approved quicker than the average turnaround time. More information regarding the process may be found on the Insurer Resources page of the Insurance Compact website.

A. Frequency Asked Application Questions - Travel

expand 1.  Can an application ask about the applicant’s travel to specific countries?

  • Yes, the application may ask whether the proposed insured has traveled to, or intends to travel to, named countries outside of the United States
  • The question must be limited to a specific period of time in the past and/or future.
  • The specific period of time in the past and/or future may not exceed two (2) years.
  • For a “yes” response, details may be requested such as: the travel mode, country, cities, provinces, purpose and length of stay. As an alternative to requesting details in the application, the application may require the completion of a Foreign Travel supplement for details.
  • See § 4B(1)(f), Foreign Travel, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 2.  Can an application ask about the applicant's past international travel?

  • Yes, the application may ask whether the proposed insured has traveled outside of the United States 
  • The question must be limited to a specific period of time.
  • The specific period of time may not exceed the past two (2) years.
  • For a “yes” response, details may be requested such as: the travel mode, country, cities, provinces, purpose and length of stay. As an alternative to requesting details in the application, the application may require the completion of a Foreign Travel supplement for details.
  • See § 4B(1)(f), Foreign Travel, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 3.  Can an application ask about the applicant's future international travel?

  • Yes, the application may ask whether the proposed insured intends to, or has made plans to, travel outside of the United States 
  • The question must be limited to a specific period of time.
  • The specific period of time may not exceed the next two (2) years.
  • For a “yes” response, details may be requested such as: the travel mode, country, cities, provinces, purpose and length of stay. As an alternative to requesting details in the application, the application may require the completion of a Foreign Travel supplement for details.
  • See § 4B(1)(f), Foreign Travel, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 4.  Can an application ask about the applicant's past residency outside of the United States​?

  • Yes, the application may ask whether the proposed insured has lived outside of the United States
  • The question must be limited to a specific period of time.
  • The specific period of time may not exceed the past two (2) years.
  • For a “yes” response, details may be requested such as: the travel mode, country, cities, provinces, purpose and length of stay. As an alternative to requesting details in the application, the application may require the completion of a Foreign Residency supplement for details.
  • See § 4B(1)(g), Foreign Residency, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 5.  Can an application ask about the applicant's plans to reside outside of the United State​s?

  • Yes, the application may ask whether the proposed insured intends to, or has made plans to, live in named countries outside of the United States./li>
  • The question must be limited to a specific period of time.
  • The specific period of time may not exceed the next two (2) years.
  • For a “yes” response, details may be requested such as: the travel mode, country, cities, provinces, purpose and length of stay. As an alternative to requesting details in the application, the application may require the completion of a Foreign Residency supplement for details.
  • See § 4B(1)(g), Foreign Residency, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 6.  Can a form contain an exclusion for death in connection with international travel or residency​?

  • See this question under the Policy Form Questions.

Updated 4/7/20

B. Frequently Asked Application Questions - Medical

expand 1.  Can an application ask if an applicant has COVID-19?

  • A question may not be open ended or call for self-diagnosis, as in “do you have,” or “do you have symptoms of”.
  • Yes, a question may ask if the proposed insured has, or has ever had, a specific disease or illness, provided that the question:
    • Must refer to a member of the medical profession.
    • May include any combination of “diagnosed, treated, tested positive for, or been given medical advice for” by a member of the medical profession regarding the specific condition.
  • For any “yes” answer, details may be requested such as: name, address and telephone number of the medical professional or facility providing treatment, diagnosis, dates of diagnoses, consultations, tests and treatments.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 2.  Can a question ask if an applicant has been examined for COVID-19?

  • Yes, a question may ask if the proposed insured has been examined by a member of the medical profession within a specific period of time not to exceed the past five (5) years.
    • The question may, but is not required to, refer to a specific condition.
    • The question may, but is not required to, refer to symptoms of COVID-19.
    • The question may include any combination of “treated, examined or advised” by a member of the medical profession.
  • Any “yes” answer, details may be requested such as: name, address and telephone number of the medical professional or facility providing treatment, diagnosis, dates of diagnoses, consultations, tests and treatments.
  • See § 4E(1)(h)(i), Treatment by a Member of the Medical Profession, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 3.  Can an application ask about testing recommended but not completed​?

  • Yes, a question about specified medical care which was not completed, such as any hospitalization, surgery or diagnostic test recommended but not completed, is subject to the same requirements as a question about examination.
  • See § 4E(1)(h)(ii), Treatment by a Member of the Medical Profession, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 4.  Can a question ask about inpatient or outpatient treatment for COVID-19​?

  • Yes, a question whether the proposed insured received inpatient or outpatient treatment in a hospital, clinic or medical facility, or any similar entity must contain a look back period not to exceed the past five (5) years.
  • A question about inpatient or outpatient treatment that also asks about examination, testing or diagnosis must refer to a member of the medical profession under the standards for the other types of questions.
  • See § 4E(1)(i), Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 5.  Can a question ask about quarantine or self-isolation?

  • Yes, a question about whether the proposed insured is or was quarantined or self-isolated is subject to the requirements for being treated, examined or advised by a member of the medical profession.
    • The question must contain a lookback period of time not to exceed the past five (5) years.
    • The question may, but is not required to, refer to a specific condition.
  • For any “yes” answer, details may be requested such as: name, address and telephone number of the medical professional or facility providing treatment, diagnosis, dates of diagnoses, consultations, tests and treatments.
  • See § 4E(1)(h)(i), Treatment by a Member of the Medical Profession, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 6.  Can the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 be marked as variable text in medical questions​?

Updated 4/7/20

expand 7.  Can an application ask about known exposure to COVID-19​?

  • No, a question may not be open ended or call for self-diagnosis, as in “do you have,” or “do you have symptoms of,” “do you have any known indication of,” or “do you think you have.” 
  • It is permitted to ask whether the proposed insured has tested positive for COVID-19, been treated/examined/advised for COVID-19, or been diagnosed by a member of the medical profession in accordance with the relevant provisions of § 4E, Medical Questions, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 8.  Can an application ask about experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

  • A question may not be open ended or call for self-diagnosis, as in “do you have,” or “do you have symptoms of”.
  • Yes, a question may ask if the proposed insured has been examined by a member of the medical profession for specific symptoms within a specific period of time not to exceed the past five (5) years.
    • The question may, but is not required to, refer to a specific condition.
    • The question may include any combination of “treated, examined or advised” by a member of the medical profession.
    • For any “yes” answer, details may be requested such as: name, address and telephone number of the medical professional or facility providing treatment, diagnosis, dates of diagnoses, consultations, tests and treatments.
    • See § 4E(1)(h)(i), Treatment by a Member of the Medical Profession, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 9.  Can an application ask about family members diagnosed with COVID-19?

  • Yes, a question may ask if a parent or sibling of the proposed insured has been diagnosed or treated by a member of the medical profession for a specific condition.
    • The question must refer to a member of the medical profession.
    • The question may not ask about symptoms experienced by the family member. The Uniform Standards provision refers only to diagnosis or treatment for a specific condition.
  • For any “yes” answer, details may be requested such as: parent’s or sibling’s diagnosis, age of diagnosis and date last treated; parent’s or sibling’s age if alive and if not alive, age, date and cause of death.
  • See § 4E(1)(b), Family Medical History, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

C. Frequently Asked Application Handling Questions

expand 1.  How can a previously approved application be modified for electronic or telephonic use to facilitate social distancing?

  • The application Uniform Standards all contain a provision requiring the filer to identify the format in which the application will be used.
    • An explanatory paragraph is sufficient to explain the authentication process. Sample attachments and vendor specifications are not necessary.
    • Requirements under UETA and ESIGN are outside of the form content requirements of the Uniform Standards.
    • See § 1A(10), General, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards. Note: this requirement is different from Section 3L, which concerns electronic delivery of the product forms and other notices upon and after policy issue.
  • Per Filing Information Notice 2017-1, if a filing was approved fewer than 90 days ago and has not been implemented, the filing can be reopened to amend the Application Use section.
  • If the filing has surpassed the 90-day threshold that would allow it to be reopened for certain changes, it can be updated for the electronic application process by submitting a new filing using the Supporting Documentation Update (SDU) filing type, provided there are no changes to the approved form language.
    • Create the new filing, provide the necessary supporting documentation, including the Application Use submission requirement on the Supporting Documentation tab, and associate the original filing(s) to the new SDU filing.
    • Filers can update several previously approved forms in a single SDU filing.
  • See the 3/26/20 Weekly Tip from the Insurance Compact's Weekly Tips Archive.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 2.  Can a temporary receipt or statement of health contain questions about COVID-19?

  • Yes. Medical questions in any filed form are reviewed for compliance with the applicable provisions of the Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.
  • The Compact Uniform Standards do not control the process by which an insurer acknowledges receipt of premium or binds insurance coverage. It is each insurer's responsibility to comply with state requirements for the marketing, sales and administration of Compact-approved products.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 3.  Can a supplemental application or questionnaire about COVID-19 or international travel/residency be filed with the Compact for use with a state-filed main application?

  • Generally, no. Mix and Match of parts of an application contravenes the Uniform Standards requirement that “the filing shall include all the sections and questions that may be required to be completed by an applicant, including additional drop downs, scripts, questions, questionnaires or supplements that would be required if the applicant answers questions in a certain way, such as a ʽyes’ response.”
  • The exceptions to this requirement are:
    • A filing company is transitioning to the use of exclusively Compact-approved application forms within a reasonable amount of time, or
    • A filing company is transitioning to use previously approved Compact applications in specific Compact member states.
  • See § 1A(5), General, Individual Life Insurance Application Standards.

Updated 4/7/20

D. Frequently Asked Policy Form Questions 

expand 1.  What is the effect of a Compact member state’s order or request to waive or suspend the grace period or termination for non-payment of premium provision of a Compact-approved product?

  • A directive issued under the emergency authority of the chief insurance regulator of a Compact member state to waive, suspend or extend the application of the grace period or termination for nonpayment of premium provisions of a policy or contract applies to products approved by the Compact for use in the state the same way it would apply to products filed directly with the state.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 2.  Can a previously approved policy be revised to change the guaranteed minimum interest rate (GMIR)?

  • The GMIR may be lowered for new issues of a Compact-approved policy, and the filing approach varies by the approach taken to identify the GMIR in the previously approved filing. The Variability of Information section of the Uniform Standards for each applicable product provides that the GMIR for account value may be bracketed to denote variability and may be changed upon prior approval.
  • A Compact filing cannot be used to revise the GMIR of a policy filed outside of the Compact.
  • See the 3/16/20 Weekly Tip from the Insurance Compact's Weekly Tips Archive.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 3.  Can a Compact-approved life insurance policy be re-priced or otherwise updated for new business without re-filing the policy form for review?

  • Generally, yes, by submitting a new filing using the Supporting Documentation Update filing type as detailed in Filing Information Notice 2017-1 to change a product specification approved as a variable item.
  • For re-pricing, the company must provide a complete, updated actuarial memorandum in order to demonstrate that the product continues to comply with applicable nonforfeiture requirements.
  • For other adjustments of items permitted in the applicable Uniform Standards to be marked as variable, the 3/16/20 Weekly Tip from the Insurance Compact's Weekly Tips Archive provides a fuller description of the framework for analyzing the best method for updating the filing.
  • A product filed with a Compact member state is not eligible to be updated using a Compact filing.
  • It is each insurer's responsibility to comply with state requirements for the marketing, sales and administration of Compact-approved products, including regulation of small face amount, preneed and final expense products.
  • The Insurance Compact Office will respond to pre-filing communication requests with more specific feedback based on the specifications desired to be updated for new business.

Updated 4/7/20

expand 4.  Can a life insurance policy, rider or endorsement contain an exclusion for death caused by COVID-19?

Updated 4/7/20

expand 5.  Can a life insurance policy, rider or endorsement contain an exclusion based on international travel or residency?

Updated 4/7/20