Some Insurers Suspend Billings, Offer Grace Periods

Contact: Ragan Ingram, Assistant Commissioner


Some insurance companies doing business in Alabama are suspending policy billings or offering grace periods for payments for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, Commissioner Walter A. Bell said today.


AFLAC, Alfa, Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide and State Farm are instituting such plans, and other companies have indicated that they are preparing similar efforts.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama has suspended billings statewide. Consumers should call their insurer to see if any relief is being offered and what form it is taking.


“In times like these, we believe it is appropriate for the companies to consider implementing grace periods to those affected and/or suspending billings in affected areas,” Commissioner Bell said. “I appreciate the quick response by these companies to help those in the affected areas and I appreciate Blue Cross Blue Shield for its statewide approach. I strongly encourage all companies doing business in Alabama to do likewise.


“It is imperative that Alabamians who live in affected areas – particularly where there is no mail service – to make contact with their insurance company to see what relief is available to them.”


Mail service in Mobile and Baldwin counties has been widely disrupted, including the Mobile distribution center. Scores of zip codes have seen their mail service temporarily stopped. This means it would be impossible for many consumers to receive their bills in the mail for the time being.


In other news, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the umbrella organizations for the state’s insurance commissioners, has pledged $25,000 to the American Red Cross to aid in recovery efforts. The NAIC also announced today the cancellation of its fall meeting, which was to be held September 9-12 at New Orleans.