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Gov. Murphy orders all nonessential retail businesses to close to the public

As part of Executive Order No. 107, Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all nonessential retail businesses to close to the public. According to the order, essential retail businesses include banks and other financial institutions. PIANJ has reached out to the governor’s office to get clarification as to whether insurance agencies would be considered essential retail under the category of “other financial institutions.”

While much of an insurance agency’s business can be completed successfully without interaction with members of the public, there are some retail activities that are essential (e.g., the acceptance of client’s premium payments). Although many clients have the option of paying premiums online or by mailing a check, there are certain clients who lack the means to do so. For clients who do not have a credit card or a checking account, paying insurance premiums in cash and in person is the only viable option. When insurance is provided through the Personal Auto Insurance Plan , the law requires the agent to meet with the insured personally. Our agencies would provide that service using appropriate safety and social distancing measures, but if they cannot operate at retail for those and similar customers those customers may risk going without insurance. Unfortunately in many instances these are the clients who may feel the most affect of the financial hardship caused by this pandemic.

If designated as an essential retail business, agencies would be permitted to remain open to the public. However, they still would be required reduce in-office staff as much as practicable.