Debt Deferral Program in N.C. Not Extended

It appears as though a debt deferral program that has been in place in North Carolina for the past two months expired on May 27 and was not renewed by the state’s Department of Insurance, thereby ending the program.

The order from Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey was extended on April 26 for an additional 30 days, but the department has not appeared to issue any guidance indicating that the order would be extended for a third month.

Under the order, debt collectors were required to offer deferrals of debt payments to individuals living in The Tarheel State as a means of providing relief from the COVID-19 crisis. The order references North Carolina General Statute § 58-2-46, which goes into effect upon a state of disaster being declared. Upon the declaration, collection agencies — along with insurance companies, premium finance companies, and other entities subject to the statute — must provide individuals with a 30-day deferral on any premium or debt payments.

The decision not to extend the deferral program in North Carolina comes as a number of states are removing provisions that had been put into place to protect consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. In Texas and Iowa, for example, both states have lifted prohibitions in the past week against evictions, foreclosures, and garnishment activities.

What is interesting about the decision to not extend the deferral program is that the number individuals who are confirmed to test positive for COVID-19 is increasing, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control. The seven-day rolling average for confirmed cases was at about 500 yesterday, well above the average when the program was extended a month ago.

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