Operations Continue While Offices Remain Temporarily Closed

The Illinois Department of Insurance has issued Bulletin 2020-06 which can be accessed at Company Bulletin #2020-06. A summary is that the Department’s offices are temporarily closed until Governor Pritzker’s disaster proclamation expires or other guidance is provided. Yesterday, Governor Pritzker extended the proclamation through April 30. See Executive Order 2020-18.

The bulletin notes that the Department is working to process and respond to filings, applications, and consumer inquiries as quickly as possible, but the response time may be extended, particularly for anything sent via U.S. mail. As a result, it is encouraging consumers and companies to file documents or send any communications to the Department electronically whenever possible.

Like many of you, the Department staff is working remotely. On March 18, Governor Pritzker recorded this message for state employees: A Message from Governor Pritzker to State Employees. Even though the Department’s offices are temporarily closed, my experience is that its regulatory functions are working well and without delay. Since the closure, I have communicated with staff members ranging from the executive to the individual analyst. At all levels they have been responsive and attentive.

Zack Stamp, Ltd. wishes all the best of health and well-being. If we can assist you during this time of uncertainty, please contact us.

Workers’ Compensation Cases Postponed for 90-Days

3/27/2020 Illinois Worker's Compensation Suspends Regular Operations for April 2020

Due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, on March 27 the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commissioner (IWCC) issued a memorandum announcing the suspension of its regular operations for April 2020.

Subject to exceptions, this suspension means that all cases will continue to their next regularly scheduled 90-day continuance date. The IWCC handles workers’ compensation claims between employees and their employer. It uses an administrative court process to resolve the cases. The IWCC must also approve any settlement that releases an employee’s workers’ compensation claim.

If a case is currently pending before the IWCC for oral argument, the case may be decided if the parties waive oral argument. If oral argument is waived, a Decision on Review will be issued by the assigned panel as quickly as possible.

During the period of suspended operations, the IWCC will hear “valid” emergency motions only. “Valid” emergencies include issues involving the expiration of a statute of limitations, or where a party can reasonably be expected to suffer an unacceptable hardship if not heard on an expedited basis. Motions which do not constitute “valid” emergencies will be stricken.

All other IWCC operations will continue as usual. Parties are advised that any statutory filing deadlines and statutes of limitations will not be affected by the memorandum. The IWCC will continue to process all usual documents and filings by mail and in person delivery.

Zack Stamp, Ltd. wishes all the best of health and well-being. If we can assist you during this time of uncertainty, please contact us.

Insurance companies and agents are essential business operations and exempt from the stay at home executive order

3/20/2020 Executive Order 2020-10 - Stay at Home

3/19/2020 Memorandum on Identification of Essential Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response

Late yesterday afternoon Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10 directing all Illinois residents to remain at their home or place of residence beginning at 5:00 P.M. today through April 7, 2020. The order seeks to balance stopping the substantial health threat posed by COVID-19 while minimizing the virus’ negative economic impact. Therefore, the order contains exceptions for Essential Business Operations and encourages these businesses to remain open. Insurance companies and agents are deemed essential business operations. The order specifically lists insurance services as essential professional services. The order also adopts the definition of Essential Business and Operations contained in the March 19, 2020 memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) titled, Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response.The CISA memorandum identifies as essential those workers needed to process and maintain systems for insurance services as well as capital markets activities.

Even though the executive order exempts essential business operations, it does mandate that businesses take proactive measures to implement requirements for social distancing, hand sanitation, and if necessary, separate operating hours for elderly and vulnerable customers.

The staff at Zack Stamp, Ltd. wishes all the best health and well-being. We will send additional updates as more information becomes available and is verified. If we can assist you during this time of uncertainty, please contact us.