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. MassMutual’s 60-day grace extension now is available to clients who inform the company on or before August 1 that they are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and unable to pay their premiums due March 24 through August 1, 2020, the premium relief period. As reported earlier, clients previously had until June 1 to contact MassMutual.“A few states have mandated additional time to pay premiums,” said Amanda Wallace, head of Insurance Operations. “We’ve also expanded that courtesy outside of what’s required because we know that people have financial hardships and want to help them protect their families and keep coverage in force.”
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 is expanding this offer to Alaska, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon and clients who call for grace period extensions on or before August 1. MassMutual will notify eligible clients in the coming weeks with repayment plan enrollment instructions. Note: Brokers 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.
Click here for further information regarding eligible parameters and ineligible scenarios.
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.