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Georgia insurance commissioner bans policy cancellations during pandemic

Doraville Police Chief John King (seen in this 2012 photo on left) was named to replace suspended Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck. Photo: Miguel Martinez/Mundo Hispanico
Doraville Police Chief John King (seen in this 2012 photo on left) was named to replace suspended Georgia Insurance Commissioner Jim Beck. Photo: Miguel Martinez/Mundo Hispanico

Credit: Miguel Martinez/MH

Credit: Miguel Martinez/MH

Georgia’s insurance commissioner on Friday banned insurers from canceling health and business policies while the state navigates the coronavirus pandemic.

In a directive issued Friday, Insurance Commissioner John King instructed insurers not to cancel health insurance policies of those who miss payments "until further notice." King also instructed insurers not to cancel business policies for missed payments for the next 60 days.

The change is effective immediately.

“The COVID-19 virus is increasingly having a direct financial impact on many families and businesses across our state,” King said. “Today’s directive ensures that no one in Georgia loses critical insurance coverage for non-payment due to these circumstances beyond their control.”

If an insurer violates the directive and cancels a policy, the Department of Insurance can issue a penalty ranging from fines to canceling the company’s license to operate.

But Department attorney Gregg Conley said it’s rare for a company to violate a directive.

“Because we’re the regulator, they’ll listen to us,” Conley said. “There are some things we can urge them to do and some we tell them to do. We’re telling them not to cancel these policies.”

The department also announced it was suspending all in-person business until further notice.