New Rules for Agencies
Governor Inslee published the Professional
Services COVID-19 Requirements to help insurance agencies and other
professional services keep a healthy workplace in accordance with state and
federal law, and comply with COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices.
Wearing Masks in the Office
Starting June 8 Gov. Inslee is requiring employees
to wear a non-medical mask in the office unless they work alone in their own office
or if they don't have "in-person interactions" within 6 feet of other
people. The state can fine a business if it doesn't follow the guidance on face
Here is an FAQ
about the facial covering rule.
Examples of "working alone" include:
- A person by themselves inside
an office with four walls and a door.
- A lone worker inside of a
cubicle with 4 walls (one with an opening for an entryway) that are high
enough to block the breathing zone.
AWB partnered with the Department of Labor & Industries on an
on-demand video (June 5) to help businesses understand protective
equipment requirements and the inspection and enforcement processes for
Big I Agency Reopening Resource Page
The Big I has created a new
resource page on recovery and reopening to help you communicate with your clients and staff as they continue to serve
your community. It includes operational best practices, remote work resources,
human resource checklists, etc.
Phase 3 Business Safety Plan
The state has created a new Phase
3 Safety Plan template to help businesses implement and document
legally-required workplace safety measures. The template serves as a checklist
to cover all critical workplace safety requirements.
Every business operating in Phase 3 must have an outline of
measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is not required that the
plan be submitted anywhere for approval but must be available on the premises
Guide to Reopening Your Office
Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services firm, has
Readiness: A How-To Guide for Reopening Your Workplace."
Checklist to Help You Reopen
The Big I and our partner organizations are in the process of creating tools to help insurance agencies and your customers open up for business in this new world. All employers must take a fresh look at their physical workspace, their workplace practices, and their communication and training of employees in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus and to protect their employees and clients. To assist you with these efforts, Affinity HR Group, which is part of Big I Hires, has developed a checklist for employers to consider when planning to reopen.
License Renewal Extensions
Commissioner Kreidler filed emergency
rules that allows producers to request
in writing an extension until 7/31 if your license expires between
Small Business Relief Programs
The Small Business Administration is offering the following
programs to help smaller businesses weather the pandemic and keep workers on
- The SBA
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) are long-term, low-interest loans
that may be used to pay debts and operational expenses. SBA offers an Economic
Injury Loan Advance of up to $10,000 to provide economic relief to
businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue during the pandemic.
These advances need not be repaid in many cases.
Employer Tax Credits
The IRS has detailed two important
tax credits for employers affected by the pandemic:
- The Credit for Sick and Family
Leave affords workers paid sick leave in the event that they must
self-quarantine or can't work in order to care for someone with the
coronavirus, or if child care provider is closed.
- The Employee Retention Credit
may help businesses keep employees on the payroll as the economy gradually
reopens. This graphic details
Free Pandemic Marketing Guide
Trusted Choice, the Big I's marketing brand, has released a new
in a Pandemic, for independent agents to showcase their dedication to their
clients during the coronavirus pandemic. The guide offers critical information
regarding the current situation and provides a variety of best practices for
planning and executing effective marketing campaigns during the pandemic.
Trusted Choice also released the Stronger
Together COVID-19 campaign.
Waiving Deductibles and Copays For Testing
Commissioner Kreidler extended his emergency order to health
insurers for 30 days, requiring them to waive copays and deductibles for
testing for coronavirus. Insurers also must continue allowing a one-time early
refill for prescriptions and suspending any prior authorization for treatment
or testing of COVID-19.
Deadline Extended for Property Claims
Commissioner Kreidler filed
an emergency order that requires insurers to extend deadlines 60 days
relating to withheld depreciation for policyholders who are in the process of
completing home or building repairs as part of a property loss claim under a
replacement cost policy.
New Federal CARES Act
The Federal Cares Act created the PPP loan program which as of 4/17 is out of money but more is expected to by allocated by Congress. The additional funds are expected to go even quicker insurance
agencies are encouraged to complete an application on InsurBanc's website so your application
can be submitted immediately after the funds are available. If your
agency maintains your payroll, the loan will be forgiven.
OIC Business Interruption Study
polled Washington state insurers and found that FM Global Insurance Group
is the only carrier to offer coverage for a pandemic event through their base
policy and 15 offered limited coverage through endorsements.
New Federal Sick Leave Law
Recently Congress passed The Families First Coronavirus Response Act,
which goes into effect this Thursday, April 2. Click here to see a detailed analysis of the new
law which requires employers to provide 10 business days of paid sick leave
to employees which will be reimbursed by the federal government through
tax credits. Employers are required to post this notice of
employee rights under the Act to educate employees
Protect Yourself From an E & O Claim
IIABW has been made aware that some insurance carriers are directing their agencies to deny certain claims related to the COVID-19/coronavirus - most specifically business income claims. The Big I strongly advises that agencies NOT make a coverage determination on behalf of any insurance carrier or deny any claims. Click here for more information.
SwissRe has written two documents to help protect your agency from
an E & O claim:
Resources Available to Employers