How You Can Sell Insurance in Your State During COVID-19

We’ve gathered information regarding your state’s stance on in-person sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as information about applying for unemployment benefits as a self-employed worker.

The federal CARES Act has opened up a number of resources that have never been available to independent contracted professional before, such as unemployment income for some 1099 employees and small business loans through the Small Business Administration. Although we are not experts on these topics, this post will provide you with links to this information for your state.

COVID-19 has impacted states’ CE and licensing requirements, click here to review and see how your state may currently be impacted.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that a special enrollment period applies for beneficiaries who were eligible for — but unable to make — an election because they were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to CMS, this includes both enrollment and disenrollment elections. Individuals will be considered “affected” and eligible for this SEP if they:

  • Reside, or resided at the start of the incident period, in an area for which FEMA has declared an emergency or a major disaster and has designated affected counties as being eligible to apply for individual or public level assistance;
  • Had another valid election period at the time of the incident period; and
  • Did not make an election during that other valid election period.

This SEP began on March 1 and continues through June 30, 2020. This SEP is available nationwide to residents of all states, tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia. Beneficiaries will not be expected to provide proof that they were affected by the pandemic-related emergency.

Agents should not use this SEP as a marketing opportunity, but rather be able to inform concerned clients of their options should they qualify for the SEP.

We are encouraging all agents to take advantage of using our virtual tools, such as Medicareful, to continue to successfully communicate with clients – remotely! Learn more about Medicareful and what you can do with your own site.

For quick navigation to your state, click any of the links listed below and then use the orange arrow to return to this table.

This page was last updated at 12PM ET on May 22, 2020.

Alabama

Insurance sales are deemed essential. May remain open if following all business protocols, using telework when available. Read more

Alaska

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Arizona

Insurance sales are deemed essential. May stay open with additional sanitization precautions as recommended for businesses.

Arkansas

No information at this time.

California

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Colorado

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Connecticut

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so agents do not have to work from home, though recommended if possible.

Delaware

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

District of Columbia

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so agents do not have to work from home, though recommended if possible.

Florida

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so agents do not have to work from home, though recommended if possible.

Georgia

Insurance sales are not on list given of businesses that must close. Can continue to stay open if chosen, however safety protocols must be followed. Read more

Hawaii

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Idaho

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Illinois

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Indiana

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Iowa

No information at this time.

Kansas

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so agents do not have to work from home, though recommended if possible. Read more

Kentucky

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so businesses do not have to close. Should try to work from home if possible.

Louisiana

Insurance sales are not mentioned specifically, but agents can continue operations with essential employees using proper protocols. Read more

Maine

Insurance sales are considered essential, however use of telesales or remote work should be used whenever possible. Read more

Maryland

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so businesses do not have to close. Should try to work from home if possible and no door-to-door sales.

Massachusetts

Insurance agents/brokers are not mentioned on the essential list, so only telesales/remote work is accepted. Read more

Michigan

Insurance sales are considered essential only if their work cannot be done by a telephone or remotely. Read more

Minnesota

Insurance sales are considered essential but with note: Executive Order 20-20 requires all employees who can work from home to do so, even if they are eligible for a Critical Sector worker exemption. Read more

Mississippi

Essential businesses can remain open, following safety protocols. Read more

Missouri

The stay at home ban does not require businesses to close whether they are deemed essential or not, only that they follow social distancing and sanitation requirements. Read more

Montana

Insurance sales are deemed essential, but businesses are required to follow all distancing protocols while open and use telesales as much as possible. Read more

Nebraska

No information at this time.

Nevada

Insurance sales are deemed essential, but expected to provide services through telework opportunities. Read more

New Hampshire

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so agents do not have to work from home, though recommended if possible.

New Jersey

Insurance sales are deemed essential. Urged to follow social distancing protocols. Read more

New Mexico

Insurance sales are deemed essential. May remain open is following all business protocols, using telework when available. Read more

New York

Insurance sales are considered essential. Businesses are urged to follow all safety protocols and keep in-person interaction as minimal as possible. Read more

North Carolina

Insurance sales are deemed essential and are exempted from closing. Should limit contact with public and use telesales when possible.

North Dakota

No information at this time.

Ohio

Insurance sales are considered essential. Telework highly recommended. Read more

Oklahoma

Insurance sales are listed as essential. Business can remain open as normal while following social distancing guidelines. Read more

Oregon

Insurance sales are not on the list of businesses that have to close, but telesales are highly recommended.

Renewal Applications are being processed as normal

Although our physical offices are closed to the public and most of the staff is working from home, we have had no disruption to our ability to process renewal applications. After a brief disruption, we are able to receive phone calls, but we still encourage individuals to use email to contact us at [email protected].

No change to continuing education requirements

Oregon does not require in-person continuing education. There are a variety of providers licensed who provide the education online in a manner that doesn’t require any physical contact and can be taken from any location. Others have elected methods that do require a proctor to certify that the examination for the continuing education was taken without assistance from written materials or any person. While that could be done remotely with the correct processes and procedures, not all companies offering other methods of education are set up for this kind of remote proctoring.

Pennsylvania

Even though insurance is considered a life-sustaining business, in-person sales are not designated as such and could hinder the safety and well-being of others. Therefore, any Pennsylvania agents who continue to sell insurance in-person, will run the risk of losing their licenses. Click here for more information.

Governor Wolf’s Plan for Reopening Pennsylvania

In accordance with Governor Wolf’s three-phase reopening plan (Red, Yellow, Green) for Pennsylvania, as of Friday, May 22, 49 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties will have entered the yellow phase of reopening. More counties will be added as they meet the requirements. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s website has helpful resources and guidance for businesses in the yellow phase, including building and business safety measures.

COVID-19 Guidance for Licensees as Counties Move to Yellow Phase

In order to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department (“Department”) is issuing this Notice to all licensees of this Department to provide guidance about in-person operations and sales for insurance licensees in counties moving to the yellow phase of reopening in the Commonwealth.

Telework and remote operations must continue where feasible in counties that have been designated to move to the yellow phase, however, in instances where that is not feasible, insurance licensees will be permitted to resume in-person operations, including in-person sales, with restrictions to protect licensees and consumers. Licensees must adhere to the guidance, building safety and business safety orders issued by Governor Tom Wolf that details procedures businesses must follow to conduct in-person operations in counties slated to move to the yellow phase of reopening. Licensees are advised that unsolicited in-person sales continue to be prohibited across the commonwealth under the Governor’s order, regardless if licensees are operating in red or yellow counties.

Any insurance licensee found to be in violation of this Notice may be subject to Enforcement actions by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, including the levying of monetary penalties and revocation or suspension of license. Additionally, non-compliance can result in a referral to the Pennsylvania State Police for further prosecution.

Visit www.pa.gov for complete information and an up to date list of counties moving to the yellow phase.

Per the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, “the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act creates a new temporary federal program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

In general, PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits, including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits.”

As an independent insurance agent, you would be considered self-employed and should file for PUA assistance rather than filing for regular unemployment compensation.

You can refer to these FAQs from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry for more clarification.

Rhode Island

The state has not placed essential listings. However, the order does not close service-based businesses. Telesales recommended if possible.

South Carolina

Insurance sales not on the list of businesses that have to close. Read more

South Dakota

No information at this time.

Tennessee

Insurance sales are deemed essential, so agents do not have to work from home, though recommended if possible. Read more

Texas

Insurance sales are considered essential. Can remain open but should use telesales whenever possible. Read more

Utah

No information at this time.

Vermont

Insurance companies, agencies and professionals that can conduct business functions remotely can continue to operate those parts of their business. Businesses in this industry that cannot transition functions to remote operations shall suspend those functions unless deemed necessary.

Virginia

Insurance businesses can remain open. May have no more than 10 patrons in a business at a time. Highly recommended to use telesales whenever possible. Failure to follow distancing requirements could result in a class 1 misdemeanor. Read more

Washington

Insurance sales are considered essential. Can remain open but should use telesales whenever possible.

West Virginia

Deemed Essential, face-to-face sales are prohibited except under certain circumstances including use of protective equipment. Telesales functions are recommended in possible. Read more

Wisconsin

Insurance sales are deemed essential, however, businesses may not engage in door-to-door solicitation, regardless of its purpose or status as an essential business or operation. Encouraged to remain open using telework tools. Read more

Wyoming

No information at this time.

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