03-15-2012

Following destructive storms, governor gives residents insurance protections

Kentucky Press News Service

FRANKFORT – Gov. Steve Beshear Wedneday signed an executive order that will prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies or changing rates for policy holders in counties affected by the deadly storms and tornadoes on Feb. 29 and March 2. This is the first time this type of order has been executed in Kentucky.

“As our families begin to repair their homes and get their finances in order, their policies for health, life or property insurance are more important than ever,” Beshear said in statement issued by his office. “We cannot allow insurance companies to cancel or change these policies in the wake of the storm, and my executive order will make sure that doesn’t happen.”

“This executive order will protect Kentuckians during a vulnerable time,” Commissioner of Insurance Sharon Clark said. “Our citizens depend on their insurance companies to assist them during times of disasters, and I commend Gov. Beshear for issuing this order that will provide reassurance to policy holders that their policies will remain intact as they recover from the storms.”

The executive order directs that in the counties in which a federal disaster has been declared, all coverage for insured persons in those affected counties will continue without cancellation or non-renewal until April 15, 2012. Any rate increases scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 29, 2012 or later will be deferred until April 15. Policy holders in those affected counties may also request and obtain a copy of any of their insurance policies free of charge.

Insurance companies must also extend the time for payment of certain charges such as premiums, co-pays, and deductibles for policies in the affected counties.

In conjunction with an earlier executive order allowing for emergency refills of certain prescriptions, the new order mandates that insurance companies will allow policy holders to obtain emergency refills of prescriptions, even if the prescription was recently filled.

Beshear declared a statewide emergency effective Feb. 29 in order to allow local communities to access state resources and assistance without delay. Since then, 21 counties have been declared federal disasters, and more counties may be declared as damage assessments continue.

Beshear also signed a consumer protection executive order at the request of Attorney General Jack Conway to implement Kentucky’s price-gouging laws, according to a state press release.