|Midwest Family Mutual (MFM) has been closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on our industry, and on the business operations of our policyholders. Social distancing is being practiced throughout our nation, and school systems and non-essential businesses in affected states and districts are being closed. Please read below for important information on business policies as well as what MFM is doing to protect its employees and agents.
Work From Home
MFM has been in a work from home environment since late 2006. As such, we expect no adverse impact on our quote turnaround, policy transaction issuance, and claims service. Please know that our entire MFM team stands ready to serve you while we participate in self-quarantine.
Even though we're a work from home company, we have several employees that do travel. MFM has suspended all travel by its Regional Marketing Managers as well as all policy inspections and non-essential claims field assessments. During this time, the health and safety of our employees, agents, and policyholders takes precedence. Our Regional Marketing Managers will continue to engage our agents by electronic means during this time and will be more available to provide quick quote turnaround. Our field claims personnel will assist our desk adjusters to provide quick claims service. Major claims like fire losses may still require us to dispatch our field claims staff. We intend to minimize that as much as we can and use social distancing protocol.
This coverage is triggered when there is direct physical loss or damage at the insured premises caused by a covered cause of loss. If a civil authority prohibits access to an insured location because of direct physical damage to "another's property" from a covered cause of loss, the civil authority coverage may be triggered. HOWEVER, virus and bacteria are excluded causes of loss, and you'll find this to be true industrywide. As such, any loss of income due to general quarantine arising out of illness or suspected illness would not trigger the coverage.
As is always the case, the burden of proof is on the employee to prove that their contraction of the virus was work-related. There may be some industries where there is a presumption of work relatedness (health services and first responders). However, for the most part, the chances of coverage for employees in most industries is remote. States may differ in their interpretation of the work comp statute, but the general consensus is that communicable disease isn't occupational in nature and coverage is unlikely.
COVID-19 allegations presented by 3rd party claims will be fully investigated and considered on a case by case basis. It's important to note that it would be VERY DIFFICULT to prove liability or negligence due to illness transmission during a global pandemic. Any and all allegations of bodily injury by third parties should continue to be referred to us for further investigation.
A reminder that our policyholders can register and access their policy online. Simply go to www.midwestfamily.com and click on "Register." Policy information and ID Cards can be accessed within this portal and payments can also be made. Claims can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. And our service center is available for general inquiries from 7am-6pm CST at 800-225-5636 ext 7077.
Potential New Exposures
As customers restrict their movements, many business models will be forced to temporarily change which may introduce new exposures and coverage requirements. For instance, restaurants are grappling with the loss of customer traffic by offering home delivery. Making sure they are properly covered with non-owned auto coverage is imperative. Agents should reach out to their marketing manager or underwriter for coverage options. We will be very flexible with these options at this time.
Midwest Family Mutual will continue to offer flexible payment plans to any and all customers. Those options include quarterly and monthly payment options. EFT and credit card are also options. Please work with your Independent Agent on a plan that works best for you. Please bear in mind that grace periods for premium payments have been implemented in compliance with state mandates for policyholders in Colorado, Indiana, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oregon. There will be no policy cancellations for non-payment of premium and we will be waiving late payments fees in those states until the respective moratoriums have been lifted. Be mindful that our policyholders will still be responsible for premium payments in these states. They are simply deferred at this time for those who are unable to pay.
In the meantime, stay safe and thank you for your business.
Aaron W. Boyd, MBA, CPCU, CIC