State legislators across the country continue to propose legislation aimed at addressing the ongoing effects of coronavirus on businesses. Here are some of the recent legislative developments:
In Pennsylvania, the Business Interruption Insurance Act, House Bill No. 2759, was recently referred to the House Insurance Committee. Similar to other proposed legislation that we’ve seen, this bill would construe an insurance policy that includes business interruption coverage to include among the covered perils all losses resulting from the Governor’s proclamation of disaster emergency, including due to a global virus transmission or pandemic. The proposed legislation would apply to insurance policies in force on the date of the proclamation of disaster emergency and that have been issued to an insured that has fewer than 100 employees.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, legislators introduced Assembly Bill 4551, which authorizes insurers to offer a rider to a business interruption insurance policy, which includes, as a covered peril, coverage for global virus transmission or pandemic, or both. A statement to the bill notes that that the Insurance Services Office, ISO, has developed such a rider, but no states have yet approved the form.
DC has recently taken a different approach, enacting the Commercial Insurance Claim Tolling Emergency Act of 2020. The Act tolls the running of all time periods for policyholders to exercise rights under their policies, or D.C. law, during the period of a public health emergency and for ninety days thereafter.
Finally, legislators in New York introduced S8853/A10837, which would render null and void any clause or provision in a business interruption policy that allows the insurer to deny coverage based on a virus, bacterium, or other microorganism that causes disease, illness, or physical distress. The bill applies to businesses and not-for-profits covered by such a policy with fewer than 250 employees.