April 6, 2020
The number of state legislatures taking action to help businesses recover under their insurance policies continues to grow. On March 16, New Jersey was the first state to propose legislation addressing business interruption coverage. Since then, four more states – Massachusetts, Ohio, and most recently, New York and Louisiana – have followed suit. The proposed bills in these jurisdictions generally provide that, notwithstanding any other law or policy language to the contrary, every 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 resulting from COVID-19. The New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, and New York bills provide mechanisms for insurers to seek reimbursement from a state established and managed fund for losses paid related to COVID-19. It is expected that additional states will join this growing list of jurisdictions seeking to mitigate the economic losses sustained by businesses due to COVID-19 through insurance.