Legislative, Regulatory and Litigation

Federal, state and local governments and regulatory bodies are working quickly to provide guidance and information about the insurance industry’s role in managing the COVID-19. Find executive orders, updates covering the impact of the coronavirus on the insurance industry as well as other critical information here.

TEXAS AND LOCAL UPDATES

JULY 09
Is the coronavirus pandemic putting Texas businesses at a higher risk of lawsuits?

As COVID-19 cases rise, the legal aspect is one of many in which businesses are navigating between staying afloat and keeping people safe. Some are pushing for a legal shield granting businesses immunity — but others are pushing back, worried that the current legal environment does not protect workers enough. Read more here.

JUNE 25
Governor Abbott Announces Temporary Pause Of Additional Reopening Phases
Governor Greg Abbott today announced that the State of Texas will pause any further phases to open Texas as the state responds to the recent increase in positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Read more here.

JUNE 23
Governor Abbott: COVID-19 Spreading At “Unacceptable Rate” In Texas

Texas Governor Greg Abbott says increases in hospitalizations and the rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 are a concern, but “closing down Texas again will always be the last option.” Read more here.

MAY 27
The Road Back to Business as Usual

While everyone looks forward to the day when we can resume business as usual, we all understand that given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, its side effects will linger for many years to come. Read more here.

MAY 18
San Antonio chef Jason Dady sues over restaurants’ lost business
San Antonio star chef Jason Dady’s restaurants have joined an expanding list of businesses that have sued their insurer for denying coverage for loss of business income caused by stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Read more here.

MAY 12
Texas delegation letter to Sen. McConnell for liability protection
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen sent a letter to US Senate Majority Leader McConnell regarding liability protections for Texas employers. Read the letter here.

MAY 07
Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen sues insurance over pandemic coverage
A group of Houston restaurants and a Beaumont orthodontist are among the latest Texas companies to sue their insurance companies for not fulfilling business interruption insurance claims related to the pandemic. Read more here.

APRIL 30
Two TX-based businesses file bad faith lawsuits against Travelers
Two businesses in Texas have each filed lawsuits against Travelers Indemnity Company, accusing the P&C insurer of rejecting their damages and business interruption claims without investigating. Read more here.

Texas leaders weigh whether restaurants and retailers should be liable if customer contracts COVID-19
State leaders in Texas are imploring Congress to consider legal immunity for businesses that reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

APRIL 27
Governor Greg Abbott has issued the following: Executive Order No.GA-18 relating to the expanded reopening of services as part of the safe, strategic plan to open Texas in response to the COVID-19 disaster. Read the order here.

APRIL 24
Lt. Gov. Patrick Announces Senate Work Groups to Discuss Pandemic Impact on Texas
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced today that he has established six Senate working groups to discuss challenges the state will face in the next legislative session as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the announcement here.

Frustrated GOP lawmakers want to curb emergency power of Texas cities, counties
Local governments have gone too far in issuing emergency orders during the coronavirus pandemic and can expect to have those powers whittled down when the Texas Legislature meets again, key state lawmakers say. Read more here.

APRIL 22
Some Onsite Agent, Adjuster Licensing Exams Now Available in Texas
Texas insurance regulators say agents and adjusters can now take licensing exams at select sites in the state. The testing locations for Pearson VUE, the state’s testing contractor, had previously been closed do to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) says it has authorized Pearson Vue to resume testing at sites where social distancing and safeguards are in place to reduce risks. Read more here.

APRIL 17
Governor Abbott Issues Executive Order Establishing Strike Force To Open Texas
Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference where he issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Read the orders here.

APRIL 14
COVID-19, business interruption and bad faith litigation
Insurers must investigate and evaluate each policyholder’s COVID-19 claim and then thoroughly explain coverage determinations. Read more here.

APRIL 13
Valoree Swanson April 13, 2020 Letter to TDI Commissioner Kent Sullivan Regarding Business InterruptionRead the letter here.

San Antonio barbershops sue State Farm after coronavirus insurance claims denied
Since all nonessential businesses were ordered closed last month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Shayne Brown figures his seven shuttered San Antonio-area barbershops have lost a combined $1 million in revenue. “We’re just dead in the water,” Brown said, adding he’s had to furlough 120 employees. Read more here. (subscription may be required)

APRIL 13
Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton Opinion No. KP-0299
Application of the temporary tax exemption for qualified property damaged by a disaster, as set forth in section 11.35(g) of the Tax Code (RQ-0345-KP). Read the opinion here.

APRIL 09
Rep. Mayes Middleton letter to Commissioner Kent Sullivan
State Representative Mayes Middleton asks Commissioner Kent Sullivan to begin an investigation into the wholesale denial of business interruption claims in Texas. Read the letter here.

APRIL 07
Lt. Gov. Patrick Appoints Business Task Force to Re-Start the Economy: Brint Ryan Will Chair
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced the establishment of a task force to work on recommendations and strategies for restarting the economy once President Trump and Governor Abbott announce that businesses can reopen. The task force will be comprised of business leaders from the Business Advisory Council he established when he was first elected in 2014. Read the press release here.

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TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE

ICT Summaries of TDI COVID-19 Related Actions
TDI and has been issuing bulletins and emergency rules to keep up with the changing needs and issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since these are coming in at a rapid pace, ICT has compiled summaries of each agency’s actions up to July 6 for reference.
Read the TDI summary here.

JUNE 30
Texas Insurance Department Asked to Conduct Auto Insurance Data Call
The Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) has asked the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) to conduct a special data call of the top 10 auto insurance groups in the state to gather information about personal auto claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

JUNE 26
OPIC requests auto insurance data call
The Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) sent a letter to Commissioner Sullivan requesting that TDI conduct a special data call of the top 10 auto insurance groups in the state to gather information about personal auto claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

JUNE 24
TDI extends telemedicine emergency rule into September

The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) is extending a requirement that insurers cover telemedicine services, including mental health visits, at the same rate as in-person visits. Read more here.

JUNE 16
Texas Returning to Normal Temporary Agent License Process on Aug. 15

Anyone with a temporary license issued August 15 or earlier will have until Nov. 13 to get a regular license. Read more here.

MAY 27
Texas Department of Insurance Postpones Adoption of 2018 IBC Due to COVID-19

The Texas Department of Insurance’s (TDI) adoption of the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) for coastal counties under the jurisdiction of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has been postponed from April 1 to September 1 due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

MAY 20
TDI Says License Renewal Extension Ends May 31; Issues Cat Area Data Call
The Texas Department of Insurance has issued a reminder to agents and adjusters that the extension to renew resident licenses and complete continuing education due to the COVID-19 crisis ends May 31. Read more here.

MAY 07
TDI Extends Modified Sworn Statement Requirements
TDI has extended their modified requirements for sworn statements due to the COVID-19 outbreak. They will allow filings to be submitted without sworn statements, affidavits, and notarizations through May 31, 2020. For their complete modified filing chart go. Read more here.

APRIL 20
TDI Modernization Efforts Paying Off During Pandemic, Commissioner Says
The employees of the state agency in charge of regulating the insurance industry in Texas might not put it this way, but in a sense, operationally at least, they have been preparing for the current health crisis brought on by the new coronavirus for a couple of years. Read more here.

APRIL 15
TDI issues bulletin on commercial premium adjustments. TDI issued a bulletin to encourage insurers to work with commercial policyholders that have premiums based on payroll, sales, or a similar auditable exposure. TDI requests that insurers conduct midterm audits and accept self-reports of changes to adjust premiums as appropriate. Read the bulletin here.

MARCH 31
TDI Expedites Review of COVID-19 Filings
TDI announced today that they are expediting approvals for property and casualty filings that provide additional coverage or relief to policyholders during the COVID-19 outbreak. Some recent filings related to COVID-19 include:

1. Some auto insurers filed to remove delivery exclusions from policies in response to policyholders using their vehicles to deliver food, medicine, and other goods.
2. A commercial auto insurance company filed a temporary rate decrease for certain policies, anticipating less driving and reduced loss exposure.

TDI reviewed and approved the first delivery exclusion filing the same day it was received. P&C companies filing changes in response to the COVID-19 are asked to notify TDI at PropertyCasualty@tdi.texas.gov or 512-676-6710 to ensure the filing is quickly flagged and reviewed.

MARCH 26
TDI Answers Questions: Health Plan, Testing and more
According to TDI, most health plans are waiving some or all of the cost of medically necessary testing for coronavirus COVID-19 that’s consistent with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. This might include the copayment, coinsurance, and deductible. TDI has created a Q&A site for this and other medical information. Read more here.

MARCH 25
TDI modifies escrow requirements
TDI has issued a bulletin with modified escrow requirements to allow for a single signature on checks, extend the deadline for audit reports, allow for electronic signatures and make other temporary changes in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Read the entire bulletin here.

MARCH 24
Texas Department of Insurance Licensing, Continuing Education Updates
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TDI has issued a bulletin suspending certain licensing requirements and fees. Read more here.

MARCH 23
Texas Department of Insurance: Guidance on claims handling and grace periods
TDI issued a bulletin to help consumers and the insurance industry during the COVID-19 outbreak. Read more here.

TDI Meeting and Training Cancellations
TDI’s COVID-19 information page can be found online here, and their list of events impacted by the coronavirus is online here.

DWC AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION NEWS


ICT Summaries DWC COVID-19 Related Actions
DWC has been issuing bulletins and emergency rules to keep up with the changing needs and issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since these are coming in at a rapid pace, ICT has compiled summaries of each agency’s actions up to June 24 for reference. 
Read the DWC summary here.

JUNE 12
Early trends in COVID-19 claims

As COVID-19 continues to affect the entire insurance market, an early look at claims trends offers a good place to start when it comes to understanding the full impact of the pandemic. Read more here.

JUNE 09
Facing Workers Compensation Challenges During the Pandemic: NCCI

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended lives, families, business routines, and the economy. Read more here.

JUNE 04
Bills would provide rebuttable presumption for workers with COVID
Kansas lawmakers introduced three bills Wednesday that would extend coverage to workers who acquire coronavirus on the job. Read more here.

COVID 19 Regulatory & Legislative Update: WC Compensability Presumptions
The COVID-19 crisis has impacted many state legislative sessions with state legislatures adjourning early, postponing their sessions, or focusing primarily on COVID-19 and state budget-related matters. NCCI is tracking COVID-19 related legislation around the country and at the federal level. Read more here.

MAY 26
Big Changes Coming for Workers’ Comp

There is still much unknown about how deeply and pervasively the pandemic will affect the U.S. and global economies; however, a deep and long-lasting recession is now a foregone conclusion. The downstream effects of a recession will change the workers’ compensation market dramatically for years to come. Read more here.

MAY 20
Coronavirus reverberates through workers’ compensation market
Workers’ compensation insurers have had a lot on their hands as they manage the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak on businesses across the United States while navigating the evolving regulatory landscape. Read more here.

MAY 14
Missouri Family Files Workers’ Comp Claim in Nurse’s Death from Virus
Attorneys for the family of a Missouri nurse who died from COVID-19 filed a claim for death benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Read more here.

MAY 06
California Governor Announces Workers’ Comp Presumption for COVID-19
California Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced that workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Read more here.

MAY 01
DWC Offers Texas Employers Online Safety Consultations
The way we work has changed, but our mission is still the same. Because of changes brought on by COVID-19, the Texas OSHA Consultation Program is now providing online consultations. Read more here.

APRIL 30
Longer Claims, Falling Premiums: NCCI Details How COVID-19 Could Affect Workers’ Comp
A recent report looks at how the economic effects of COVID-19 are hitting workers’ compensation. Read more here.

APRIL 29
Maximum medical improvement (MMI) and impairment rating (IR) evaluations are not permitted through telemedicine
DWC reminded system participants that doctors are not allowed to bill and be reimbursed for MMI and IR evaluations conducted through telemedicine or telehealth. Read the memo here.

COVID-19’s Impact on Workers’ Comp
Is a worker who contracts COVID-19 compensated under workers’ compensation for income loss and medical expenses? Read more here.

APRIL 28
During this pandemic, many workers (nurses, police, grocery store clerks, transit professionals, etc.) are considered essential, potentially putting them at heightened risk for contracting COVID-19. Read more here.

APRIL 25
Lawsuit Pits Businesses vs. Pritzker in COVID-19 Legal Battle
The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to withdraw a temporary, emergency rule put in place earlier this month that ensures “first responders and essential front-line workers, who are most susceptible to exposure to COVID-19, are afforded the full protections of the Workers’ Compensation Act in the event they are exposed to or contract the virus.”

APRIL 23
The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has crafted a white paper to assist in understanding the potential cost impact on WC losses due to COVID-19.  While there are many unknowns, the paper serves to provide an estimate of potential WC system cost impacts under  various hypothetical scenarios. It is meant to be used as a tool to gain insight into the potential implications of a state enacting legislation related to the compensability of COVID-19 related claims in certain occupations. 

Of particular interest:

  • See page 18 for WC loss impact by state and infection rate where compensability rate is 100%- In Texas, depending upon the infection rates (from 1% to 50%), costs increase can range from 25% to 1227%
  • See page 23-24 for first responder WC loss impacts by state and infection rate- In Texas, depending upon the infection rates (from 1% to 50%), costs increase can range from 10% to 519%
  • On page 24-25 you will find health care workers WC loss impacts by state and infection rates (from 1% to 50%)- In Texas, depending on the infection rate, costs increase can range from 65% to 3237% 

NCCI will be hosting a live WebEx Briefing on Friday, May 1st at 2 p.m. EST, where they will review the model’s capabilities and intended usage. To register for the webinar go here. The document in its entirety, as well as a letter by NCCI Chief Regulator are attached.

APRIL 14
DWC Emergency rule on telemedicine
DWC adopted an emergency rule allowing health care providers licensed to perform physical medicine and rehabilitation services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech pathologists to bill and be reimbursed for services currently allowed under CMS telemedicine and telehealth billing codes. Read more here.

MARCH 27
DWC Commissioner’s Bulletin 
Commissioner Brown has issued a bulletin regarding suspension of certain provisions of the Labor Code and DWC rules related to WC, which will remain in effect for the duration of the Governor’s COVID-19 declaration. Governor Abbott has approved suspending the some requirements including, work search compliance standards for supplemental income benefits under Labor Code Sec. 408.1415(a) and 28 TAC 130.102(d), Testing, training, and application requirements for designated doctor and maximum medical improvement and impairment rating recertification. Read the bulletin here.

MARCH 25
DWC Commissioner Issues Bulletin in Response to COVID-19
Commissioner Cassie Brown has issued a bulletin on COVID-19 as it relates to the Texas workers’ compensation system. Included are  insurance carrier operations, suspension of exams, tolling of medical billing deadlines and more. View the full bulletin on the TDI website.

MARCH 24
DWC Operations
DWC has announced the cancellation of their April 22nd Quarterly Carrier Meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. DWC issued a bulletin outlining their precautionary measures. Learn more here.

Updates from our workers’ compensation regulatory counsel
Additionally, our regulatory counsel has prepared useful information regarding the issues surrounding COVID-19. Here are links to those updates:
BAJB March 6, 2020 Update
BAJB March 17, 2020 Update

DWC Meeting and Training Cancellations
DWC has a list of all cancellations of the division’s meetings and events at the bottom of their Coronavirus Resources webpage

FEDERAL

JULY 07
Federal Biz Interruption Bill Backed by Plaintiffs Group Introduced

Last week, a U.S. lawmaker introduced a bill that would allow insurers to voluntarily pay certain COVID-related business interruption claims and get reimbursed by the federal government, but insurance groups have rejected the idea. Read more here.

COVID workplace suits increase: Report

The two types of COVID-19 claims that have been filed most frequently are employment discrimination claims and work-from-home/leave claims. Read more here.

JUNE 23
15 Minor League Clubs Sue Insurers Over Financial Losses Due To Pandemic

A lawsuit by more than a dozen minor league baseball clubs and business entities attached to them have filed a complaint against five insurance companies seeking to recover financial losses as part of the global pandemic. Read more here.

MAY 27
Federal PRIA Bill Officially Introduced for Biz Interruption, Event Cancellation

During a press conference on Tuesday, New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney officially announced the introduction of the much-anticipated Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020, a federal backstop for pandemic-related business interruption insurance modeled after the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act. Read more here.

MAY 26
U.S. lawmaker wants insurers, govt. to share future pandemic business losses

U.S. legislation introduced on Tuesday would create a taxpayer-backed insurance program to protect businesses from revenue losses during future pandemics and require insurers to pay a slice of the claims. Read more here.

MAY 21
INSURANCE TRADES UNVEIL FEDERAL PANDEMIC SOLUTION
The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc. (Big “I”) today unveiled a new customer-focused proposal for a federal program tailored specifically to help businesses meet the financial challenges from future pandemics. Read more here.

Number of Federal COVID-19 Business Interruption Lawsuits at 101 and Rising
A federal court has received notice that 101 lawsuits have been filed as of Wednesday seeking coverage from insurers for business interruption losses caused by COVID-19. Read more here.

MAY 20
As America reopens, prepare for a flood of coronavirus workplace lawsuits

Legal experts say there is no existing playbook to combat lawsuits that could result from businesses reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

MAY 19
COVID-19: Navigating the Path to Recovery – A Checklist of Key Insurance Considerations
Policyholders, the insurance industry, and the media have focused substantial attention on potential business interruption coverage for lost profits and revenues arising from COVID-19. Read more here.

MAY 16
Attorneys General of Oklahoma, Alabama, Alaska, Indiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Texas, write to President Trump to offer perspective on business interruption insurance policies in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the letter here.

MAY 08
U.S. Department of the Treasury
“While insurers should pay valid claims, we share your concern that these proposals fundamentally conflict with the contractual nature of insurance obligations and could introduce stability risks to the industry.” Read more here.

MAY 04
Republicans Rally Around Call for Legal Immunity for Businesses When They Reopen
The top Republicans in the U.S. Congress displayed a united front on Friday in their drive for coronavirus-related liability protections for businesses, saying such measures will be crucial to talks about future relief legislation. Read more here.

Blumenthal: Coronavirus liability shield for businesses a ‘non-starter’ in new stimulus bill talks
As the U.S. Senate returned to work this week, one issue has emerged as a roadblock in negotiations over a new, massive coronavirus stimulus bill: whether businesses should be shielded from federal lawsuits if their customers or workers contract COVID-19. Read more here.

MAY 03
White House, Congress clash over liability protections for businesses as firms weigh virus reopening plans
Congressional leaders are girding for a huge fight over the re-entry of millions of Americans to the workplace, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., insisting that employers be shielded from liability if their workers contract the coronavirus. He appears to have the backing of top White House officials. Read more here.

APRIL 30
Push for pandemic risk insurance program gathers steam
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold and wreak unprecedented havoc on global economies, the idea of a federal pandemic risk insurance program in the US has been put forward, with several sectors voicing their approval. Read more here.

APRIL 29
Insurers Promote Federal Pandemic Insurance Plan to Congress
The U.S. insurance industry is promoting the idea of an insurance plan backed by the federal government that would help businesses that in the future suffer losses from a pandemic, people familiar with the effort told Reuters. Read more here.

APRIL 22
Kudlow: Businesses shouldn’t be held liable for employees and customers getting coronavirus
White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow on Wednesday said that businesses should not be held responsible for employees or customers getting sick as governors move to reopen state economies. Read more here.

APRIL 13
US Congressman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State wrote a letter to nine insurance companies with questions and concerns about the denial of business interruption claims due to the coronavirus. Read that letter here.

APRIL 11
GOP senators urge Trump to protect insurers from state legislation
Seven GOP senators sent a letter to President Trump on Friday asking that he commit to protecting the insurance industry from proposals in state legislatures that would require insurance companies to retroactively cover small-business losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

APRIL 10
Trump: Insurance companies should pay out for pandemic claims

President Trump expressed frustration on Friday over insurance companies not paying their customers for business interruptions attributable to the coronavirus pandemic. “I would like to see the insurance companies pay if they need to pay — if it is fair,” said Trump during a coronavirus briefing at the White House on Friday. Read more here.

APRIL 07
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that he’ll work with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to approve more funding by Thursday for the Paycheck Protection Program under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Read more here.

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OTHER STATES

JULY 14
It’s a COVID-19 Pandemic; It’s Everywhere – New Cal. Bill to Make Insurers Prove Otherwise

On June 29, in a development that may fundamentally change the landscape for California businesses which have sustained COVID-19 related business interruption loss, two California legislators amended pending legislation to address several of the most hotly contested issues regarding insurance recovery for these devastating losses. Read more here.

JULY 13
Legislation to Force Insurers to Pay COVID-19 Claims Stalls as Virus Rages

California legislation that would have forced insurers to pay more coronavirus business-interruption claims was put on hold last week when state lawmakers decided not to return from their summer recess because of a resurgence of the disease. Read more here.

JULY 07
Michigan Judge Rejects Restaurants’ COVID-19 Business Interruption Claim

A trial court judge in Lansing, Michigan handed a victory to insurers in what may be the nation’s first final ruling on the question of whether a property insurer is liable for financial damages caused by a coronavirus closure order. Read more here.

Circus Circus sues insurance company, claims it failed to honor contract with COVID-19 losses
Lawyers for Circus Circus filed a federal lawsuit against its insurance company this month after a COVID-19-related claim was denied. Read more here.

If we force insurers to pay COVID-19 BI claims, it “would totally bankrupt” most of them
As insurance regulators brace for an onslaught of business interruptions claims resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, one state commissioner admits forcing insurers to pay for these claims will only hurt the industry. Read more here.

COVID-19 Business Immunity Proposal Flounders in Tennessee
Just a few weeks ago, Tennessee looked like a sure bet to become the latest state to protect businesses and other organizations from lawsuits by people impacted by the coronavirus in the push to reopen the economy. Read more here.

JULY 02
A REPORT OF THE NAIC ON THE STATE INSURANCE REGULATORY RESPONSE TO COVID-19
COVID-19 has changed the way we live and work in ways we never would have imagined a few short months ago. As the scale and threat to the health and financial stability of our market has taken shape, at the NAIC, our mission and top priorities are very clear. Read more here.

JULY 01
Las Vegas Casino Workers Sue Over Coronavirus Safety Concerns

Unions representing 65,000 Las Vegas-area casino workers accused some resort operators on Monday of putting employees at risk of illness and death during the coronavirus pandemic by skimping on safety measures like a requirement for mask-wearing. Read more here.

JUNE 30
Tribes sue insurer over denied coronavirus business loss claims

Two federally recognized tribes based in the state of Washington are suing their insurance provider, claiming that the company denied their business loss claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

JUNE 22
Governor Signs Louisiana Bills Shielding Businesses from Virus Lawsuits
Louisiana businesses are receiving state protection from most lawsuits involving COVID-19 deaths or injuries, after Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law a package of measures that provides the sweeping liability limitations. Read more here.

North Carolina Lawmakers Send Bill to Allow More Business Re-Openings to Governor
North Carolina legislators sent another bill on Thursday to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper designed to overturn parts of his executive order for COVID-19 that’s kept several types of retail businesses shuttered for months. Read more here.

Republicans consider special session for coronavirus liability
As the Tennessee General Assembly concluded its legislative business for the year early on the morning of June 19, members’ attention turned not to their re-election campaigns or summer holidays but to how quickly they could return to the Capitol. Read more here.

JUNE 19
Lawmakers must develop a public-private partnership to address insured losses from pandemics.
The catastrophic impacts of COVID-19 have presented challenges and opportunities for the insurance industry as to how to deal with business interruption (BI) losses by firms that did not have this coverage due to a viral exclusion clause in their policies. Read more here.

JUNE 18
Arkansas Governor’s Order Grants Businesses Virus Lawsuit Protections
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has granted businesses protections from coronavirus lawsuits, while the state’s epidemiologist said she’s concerned loosened restrictions may have caused some to lower their guard against the virus. Read more here.

JUNE 17
Lawsuits and legislation on COVID-19 losses inch forward
The fight around business interruption coverage and whether it will apply for businesses that experienced losses from COVID-19 shutdowns continues. Read more here.

Insurer hit with COVID-19 suits says virus doesn’t damage property
The coronavirus does not cause damage to tangible property, therefore, income lost due to COVID-19 lockdowns is not covered by commercial insurance policies, an insurer facing multiple claims from restaurants and other businesses argued Monday. Read more here.

JUNE 12
Businesses That Remained Opened Despite Shutdown Could Face Questions About Coverage

Insurers are already seeing some pushback regarding virus-related claim denials from businesses that suffered losses while closed due to the pandemic, but what about claims a business could file if it opens despite a pandemic shutdown order? Read more here.

JUNE 08
Looking for Covid-19 relief, restaurants sue insurers who refuse to pay

In the event of a blizzard, flood or fire, Mark Hutchinson could always look to his insurers for help in keeping his string of restaurants afloat. Read more here.

JUNE 03
Greenlight to reopen doesn’t offset coronavirus-related risks
On a map of the United States published by The New York Times that reveals the various stages of reopening across the country, 39 states are now colored in dark blue, indicating that businesses are almost universally opening their doors again. Read more here.

In-N-Out Sues Insurance Company Over $250 Million Claim Denial During Pandemic
Zurich American was supposed to cover even “entirely unknown and novel risks,” the fast food burger company says. Read more here.

JUNE 01
State Orders Partial Auto Insurance Refunds For Michigan Drivers Amid Pandemic

All Michigan auto insurance companies must give partial premium refunds because people are driving less during the coronavirus pandemic, state officials said Monday. Read more here.

MAY 27
State Insurance Commissioners Issue Notices Regarding Business Interruption Coverage

The insurance commissioners of various states including Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina and West Virginia recently issued letters, bulletins and press releases regarding business interruption coverage. Read more here.

MAY 26
Legislation Enabling Policyholders to Obtain Insurance Coverage for Coronavirus Claims is Constitutional Part 1
On top of its human toll, the coronavirus pandemic has had massive economic effects. Stay-at-home orders, which remain in place in much of the United States, have resulted in massive layoffs, spiraling claims for unemployment compensation, and unprecedented federal aid. Read more here.

French restaurant ruling puts coronavirus claims on global menu
AXA (AXAF.PA) will meet the bulk of business interruption claims from some restaurant owners in France, it said on Tuesday, after losing a court case seen as a potential precedent for coronavirus-related disputes across the world. Read more here.

MAY 22
Kansas lawmakers OK barring COVID-19 suits, curbing governor

Republicans pushed a sweeping coronavirus measure through the GOP-controlled Kansas Legislature on Friday, aiming to shield businesses and health care providers from coronavirus-related lawsuits and take control of the state’s pandemic response from Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly. Read more here.

Courts to have final say over ‘business interruption’ coverage
With no compromise in sight, it appears the debate over business interruption insurance coverage will be solved by litigation, not legislation. Read more here.

Fla. Sports Bar’s COVID-19 Insurance Claim Should Proceed
In the short space of two months, thousands of corporate policyholders across the country have gone from pursuing normal, prosperous business operations to substantially reduced or suspended business activity in response to state and local quarantine orders to, now, conflicts with insurance carriers over coverage for extensive business interruption losses. Read more here.

Georgia Bankruptcy Firm Sues Hartford To Cover Virus Losses
A Georgia bankruptcy law firm is suing Hartford Casualty Insurance Co., alleging that it wrongfully denied coverage for business income losses resulting from state-mandated shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

MAY 19
When Insurers Deny Claims, Brokers Are Next in Line for Allegations of Wrongdoing
In the wake of government orders shutting down or seriously limiting the operations of businesses to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, many affected businesses have turned to their insurers for coverage. Read more here.

MAY 18
Louisiana Senate approves tort reform that might lower auto insurance rates; see what’s next
The Louisiana Senate approved Monday sweeping tort reform legislation, which supporters promise will lower the price of auto insurance in Louisiana, with more votes than needed to override a gubernatorial veto. Read more here.

MAY 17
Should Insurance Companies Pay For COVID Shutdown Losses?
Randy and Amanda Rucker opened River Twice, their modern American BYO on Passyunk Avenue, seven months ago, hoping that his culinary talent and her business acumen would establish the restaurant as a fixture on one of Philadelphia’s most competitive restaurant corridors. Read more here.

MAY 16
Auto Insurance Relief Sought For Businesses
Empty roads and vacant workplaces due to the coronavirus outbreak mean fewer cars on the road, fewer fender benders and fewer insurance clams. Read more here.

MAY 14
Language in Emergency Orders Gives Ammo to Plaintiffs in Business-Interruption Suits
Cities and counties across the country may have handed plaintiff’s attorneys an argument to use in lawsuits against insurers that seek business-interruption coverage for losses caused by coronavirus closure orders. Read more here.

MAY 13
Retroactive business interruption cover would make pricing ‘astronomical’
Washington’s state insurance commissioner is strongly opposed to plans that would retroactively force insurers to cover business interruption claims, but has instructed companies to make sure they give “sound, legal reasons” when denying claims. Read more here.

Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon
“The NAIC [National Association of Insurance Commissioners] has told Congress that if they do this; if they pass a bill, which there are several pending, the industry can’t afford it, and the industry will bankrupt. Read more here.

Pennsylvania bill would define COVID-19 as property damage
The proposed legislation would require insurers to pay claims that standard property policies do not typically cover. Read more here.

Bid to Force Interruption Insurance to Cover Virus Shelved
Louisiana lawmakers won’t try to force business interruption insurance to cover the widespread closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

MAY 12
21 State Attorneys General Urge Congress To Protect Businesses From Coronavirus-Related Lawsuits

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is leading a coalition of 21 state attorney generals seeking congressional support to create federal legislation that will protect businesses from frivolous lawsuits related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
RELATED: Read the letter to Congress here.

Okla. Senate passes bill to protect firms from virus lawsuits
A Republican bill that would protect businesses from lawsuits arising from the COVID-19 pandemic passed the Oklahoma Senate on Monday. Read more here.

MAY 11
Insurance Department Warns of Risks, Increased Liability with Non-Compliance of Business Closure Orders
Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman today reminded businesses of the importance of complying with Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s orders – for counties in both the red and yellow phases. Read more here.

MAY 07
State Regulators Seek COVID-19 P&C Insurance Data
Insurance regulators are collecting data to help determine losses related to COVID-19 and to guide future policy decisions. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories have agreed to participate in a data call to collect data related to insurance and COVID-19. Read more here.

MAY 05
Workers’ Comp, Liability Next Up for Virus Insurance Disputes (Corrected)
Coronavirus-related insurance disputes and litigation are likely to move beyond business interruption coverage and into workers compensation and general liability policy lines as states begin to lift restrictions on economic activity. Read more here.

MAY 04
Legal Sea Foods sues insurer for coronavirus coverage
The Boston-based restaurant chain is suing Strathmore Insurance Co. for rejecting its damages claim stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, alleging that its “all risks” policy covers financial losses after Massachusetts and other states ordered restaurants to close except for takeout service. Read more here.

APRIL 27
Some Insurance Regulators Skeptical About Business Interruption Claims
Insurance commissioners in at least seven states have advised business owners not to get their hopes up if pursuing business-interruption claims. Scott Seaman, a partner with the Hinshaw & Culbertson law firm in Chicago, posted a blog on Friday that relayed communications from insurance commissioners in Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. Read more here.

APRIL 17
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey
“Mandating coverage for this size and type of loss while canceling existing exclusions in the policies would end the very existence of the business interruption insurance market as we know it.” Read more here.

APRIL 15
North Carolina Creates Process for Insurers to Legally Offer Pandemic Premium Relief
The North Carolina Department of Insurance says it is working with insurers to allow them to offer financial relief to policyholders without filing for department approval or risking violating state law during the current coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

Shoe Co. Sues Hartford Over Coronavirus Closure Coverage
Shoe designer Marc Fisher Footwear LLC and a slew of associated companies have sued a unit of The Hartford in California state court, alleging the insurer has wrongfully failed to cover tens of millions of dollars in losses they have suffered since coronavirus-related closures brought their business to a grinding halt. Read more here.

APRIL 14
CONGRESSMAN MIKE THOMPSON (CA) files HR 6494
The bill requires any insurer that offers business interruption coverage to make available and provide coverage for losses resulting from any viral pandemic, any forced closure of business or mandatory evacuation (from all levels of government), any power shut off.
Requires the coverage not differ materially to what is offered for other types of loss under BIPreempts and voids exclusions for the required coverage above (viral pandemic, etc.)

Alabama Regulator Eases Process for Auto Insurers to Reduce Policyholder Premiums
The Alabama Department of Insurance says it will waive filing fees and allow for immediate implementation of premium reductions by insurers in an effort to provide some relief to Alabama consumers. Read more here.

APRIL 13
Task force targets coronavirus fraudsters in Nevada
Nevada’s attorney general and U.S. attorney have assembled a new task force to crack down on scams and other crimes related to the new coronavirus. Read more here.

California orders car insurance rebates due to coronavirus. Many carriers already cut rates
If you haven’t already, you could soon see a refund from your car insurance carrier. California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has ordered carriers to return premiums paid for at least the months of March and April for insurance lines where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.

APRIL 09
Bill would up pressure on insurers to cover business interruption
South Carolina lawmakers have become the latest to introduce a bill that would force insurers to retroactively cover business interruption claims due to COVID-19. Read more here.

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