HELENA — The Montana State Fund (MSF) is allowing deferred premium payments for policyholders on their worker’s compensation insurance to help alleviate some of the financial burden experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deferral is through June 30, 2020 and will remain in place even if Gov. Bullock's stay-at-home order is lifted early.
“We think this is just one way we can assist Montana businesses owners and employees,” said MSF President and CEO, Laurence Hubbard. “I think it’s really important to help them keep employees' wages flowing, even if their operations are restricted, reduced or even closed down.”
No cancellations will occur during this period unless requested by the policyholder. The deferral is designed to give Montana businesses more flexibility to fit their financial needs during a stressful economic period. More than 19,000 MSF policyholders are small businesses.
“Small businesses are being hit the hardest, and 77% of our policyholders are Montana small businesses. It is our hope that by offering this deferral, we can help ease the pain for Main Street Montana,” said Hubbard. “We are Montanans working for and helping our fellow Montanans. By supporting one another, we will get through this difficult time.”
Policyholders who continue to pay wages to their employees who are not working will not be charged workers’ compensation premium on those wages during the deferral period. MSF is also considering additional ways to assist businesses should the COVID-19 disruption continue beyond June 30.
“One of Montana State Fund’s core values is to do what’s right. Helping our fellow Montanans get through this period of uncertainty is absolutely the right thing to do and we hope it will allow businesses to keep their doors open beyond this pandemic,” said MSF Board Chairman, Lance Zanto.
Policyholders who want more information should reach out to MSF or their insurance agent directly. MSF also wants Montanans to know that they’re still open and committed to helping workers.
“I want injured workers to know that to the best of our ability we’re going to be there to make sure their wage loss checks get out, their medical treatments are provided for and their providers are paid promptly,” said Hubbard.
MSF has been encouraging telemedicine to help doctors get an update about their patient while still social distancing.
The MSF premium deferral follows the guidelines of State Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale. On March 26, Rosedale recommended flexibility to help Montanans and businesses maintain insurance coverage and benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I'm glad to see Montana State Fund taking serious steps to ease the burden on Montana businesses in line with the recommendations I made last week. I'm encouraging both insurers and consumers to be proactive and get ahead of any potential problems. The situation is changing every day for many individuals and businesses, and that reality demands that we be flexible and help each other out as we fight the COVID-19 virus," said Rosendale.