April 30, 2020
As we noted at the beginning of April, New York is one of a growing number of states that has introduced legislation that would construe insurance policies that provide coverage for loss of use and occupancy and business interruption to include coverage for business interruption resulting from COVID-19. Unlike the bills introduced in many other states, which have gone untouched since they were introduced, Assembly Bill A10226 has twice been amended. Earlier this month, the bill was amended to provide that policies that expire during the period of declared state emergency due to coronavirus shall be subject to an automatic renewal at the current rate of charge. It also declared null and void any provision that would allow an insurer to deny coverage based on a virus, bacterium, or other microorganism, among other changes. On April 29, a second amended version of the bill was introduced; among other changes, the bill further provides that policies that insure against business income loss resulting from loss, damage, or destruction of property owned by others – including direct suppliers and/or receivers of the insured’s goods or services – shall be construed to provide coverage for contingent business interruption during the period of declared state emergency due to coronavirus. New York’s legislators, it seems, remain dedicated to seeing that businesses are able to recover COVID-19-related losses from their insurers.