Broker Check

<strong>COVID-19 premium relief, repayment options expand</strong><br /> <em>MassMutual will notify clients about enrollment instructions</em>

COVID-19 premium relief, repayment options expand
MassMutual will notify clients about enrollment instructions

MassMutual is here to help clients during this challenging time. Clients facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic and unable to pay premiums may have options to help keep their policies and coverage in force.

For most customers, the deadline to contact MassMutual for premium relief expired Aug. 1; however, some states have extended relief: Michigan, Sept. 17, Oregon, Sept. 20, and Arkansas, Oct. 13. Additional premiums due are in scope and clients have more time to contact us. Ohio, Puerto Rico, and West Virginia currently have no end date. MassMutual automatically will prevent lapses for Ohio and Oregon clients who do not need to contact the company.

MassMutual’s 60-day grace extension was available to most clients who informed the company on or before Aug. 1 that they were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and unable to pay their premiums due March 24 through Aug. 1, 2020, the premium relief period.

Client Centered

Eligible clients may benefit from the 12-month premium relief repayment program, which will allow them to repay the amount of unpaid premium during the relief period in 12 equal monthly installments.

MassMutual must provide a 12-month premium relief repayment plan in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and New York, and expanded this offer to Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon, and clients who called for grace period extensions on or before Aug. 1.

MassMutual is notifying eligible clients with repayment plan enrollment instructions.

Advisors who have clients with foreign mailing addresses also should notify them to ensure awareness considering recent foreign mail returns. Consult service alerts.

Clients must opt in to the premium relief repayment plan within 30 days of their eligibility notification. Owners, premium payers, preauthorized check (PAC) depositors, or assignees must make this opt-in request.

For more information regarding eligibility paramaters, click here

N.Y. emergency regulation requires producers to notify customers impacted by COVID-19 pandemic of grace period extension
MassMutual customer letters outline process for 90-day extension program

The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has published Emergency Regulation 216 requiring producers to notify their New York clients that if they suffer a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19, they can contact MassMutual to request an extension of their life insurance premium grace period to 90 days. This extension applies to any premiums due while the emergency regulation is in effect. Customers will have 12 months to repay their premiums after an extension is approved. 

To help producers meet the challenges of complying with the notification requirement, NYDFS has published guidance on its website outlining: 

  • Advisor obligations to notify customers. 
  • Guidelines for using email, websites, social media, and other means to reach customers. 
  • The products covered by this emergency regulation 

Note: If a life or annuity product client suffers a financial hardship due to COVID-19 and has contractual rights that can be exercised during the state of emergency, we will extend the timeframe to exercise those rights to 90 days, if requested by the client.  

MassMutual will also notify customers in New York that the company may extend the premium-payment grace period upon request to 90 days for customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, effective April 1. Premiums due but not paid during this 90-day period can be paid in equal monthly installments over the course of a next 12 months.  

Note: various sources have confirmed that NYDFS expects producers to proactively notify customers of  the extension options, in addition to any notifications made by the insurer.  

The company will soon send customers this letter outlining the grace period and contacts for requesting more information and a grace-period extension. This letter may also be emailed by advisors. The company will send an additional letter to employers of Worksite group policy owners outlining MassMutual’s commitment to their employees during this uncertain time. Advisors with Worksite business may also email this employer letter. 

New York is currently the only state requiring notifications described in this article. Unless otherwise informed, the previously outlined process remains in effect for customers of all other states, where MassMutual can only accept premium grace-period extension requests from individual clients. 

<strong>Post Issue Self-Service Options</strong>

Post Issue Self-Service Options

Due to the variety and volume of questions we are fielding in this tumultuous time, it is even more important that we partner closely to ensure we maintain our ability to serve all producers and customers. 

Use these options as often as possible, especially when requesting disbursements on behalf of your brokers’ clients or when providing disbursement forms. Using EFT/ACH disbursement options will help you provide a better experience for their customers, as they also navigate the new normal of social distancing and reduced travel.

While the option to use paper checks is still available, mailing may be a delayed due to limited staff. When requesting disbursements, consider the following options with clients:

Life disbursements

  • The Loan Smart Form enables the ACH option to be submitted with an electronic signature. Advise clients to upload a copy of a voided check to reduce delays in processing. Note: Policies must be individually owned to use the Smart Form.
  • For Life disbursement requests not supported via the Smart Form, include the One-time EFT/ACH for Disbursements form with a voided check, in addition to the disbursement form, when submitting the request via email/fax.
  • The bank account name must match the policy ownership arrangement to use the EFT/ACH option.
  • When using the Surrender Smart Form, advise clients to elect the ACH option and upload a copy of a voided check.
  • Clients can receive process updates by electing the Text Message option on the forms.

Annuity disbursements 

When handling loan, partial, or full surrender disbursement requests for annuities, advise clients to receive disbursements via ACH/EFT for all transactions to avoid delays due to limited staffing resources.

When submitting the applicable disbursement form, be sure the ACH/EFT option is selected and a voided check is submitted if not already on file. Common disbursement forms include:

Other self-service resources

We will keep you updated on the latest developments as circumstances impacted by the coronavirus evolve. While uncertainty and disruption have reached new levels, we have managed through difficulties before. Thank you for your perseverance, resiliency, and calm as we work through this worldwide event together.