RD570 - State Corporation Commission Senate Bill 567 Short-Term Disability Income Protection for Childbirth Report of Survey Responses – December 1, 2020

Executive Summary:

Insurance stakeholders that currently write short-term disability income protection covering pregnancy and childbirth are concerned that the language in SB 567 is not clear as to whether the weeks of benefit above the normal six to eight-week benefit must be medically determined or are to be provided with no additional medical review. If no additional medical review is required, stakeholders raised concerns of discrimination under federal, state, and local laws. The Commission’s Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) supports clarification of the language in SB 567.

With respect to the question relating to potential options for creating a stand-alone maternity leave policy, industry stakeholders did not support a stand-alone maternity policy due to the potential costs. One insurer pointed out that the cost of the coverage would likely be equal to the amount of the benefit. Several insurers pointed out that such policies could create discrimination issues and suggested that an option for paid family medical leave policies would be more appropriate.

Finally, with respect to the question regarding a private family medical leave option, eleven of the 22 responding industry stakeholders indicated an interest in Virginia permitting private family medical leave policies. They assert that a family medical leave insurance policy rather than a disability income policy is the appropriate vehicle for providing leave for parents after the birth or adoption of a child. Currently, Virginia law does not permit insurers to file such policies; however, the Bureau is available to provide technical assistance to the General Assembly if requested should enabling legislation be considered.