April 10, 2020
State lawmakers continue to propose legislation designed to allow businesses to recover COVID-19 losses under their insurance policies. In addition to those mentioned in our previous update, Pennsylvania lawmakers have now put forth two bills regarding business interruption. The first, like many we’ve seen, provides that an insurance policy that insures against loss or damage to property, which includes the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption, shall be construed to include coverage for business interruption due to global virus transmission or pandemic. The second establishes a COVID-19 Disaster Emergency Business Interruption Grant Program, which would award funds to businesses that have submitted an insurance claim under a business interruption insurance policy and had their insurance claim denied. Additionally, Rhode Island lawmakers have indicated their intent to introduce legislation that would allow businesses to recover COVID-19 losses if they had business interruption insurance in force on the date that Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo declared a state of emergency. Since Rhode Island’s legislative session is currently suspended, lawmakers cannot currently introduce such a bill.