Insurers Scramble To Avoid Coronavirus Backlash

 Friday, March 27, 2020

 Politico

Insurance companies are facing political pressure to pay what could be a crippling sum of coronavirus-related claims — even though many of them say their policies don’t cover pandemics.

Anger on Capitol Hill is growing over moves by insurers to deny claims filed by restaurants, retailers and other businesses that believe they have coverage to financially protect themselves from a major disruption like the one they’re now enduring.

The insurance industry is so alarmed at the prospect of a massive payout that it’s rushing to put together a plan to get Washington off its back.

With lawmakers and the Trump administration hungry for new ways to support small businesses, insurance trade groups are weighing whether to propose a federal program that would direct funds to businesses disrupted by the pandemic. One early iteration was described as something similar to the victims compensation fund set up after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Industry insiders argue that it’s a way insurers can help the country during a deep economic slump while also heading off bipartisan pressure from Congress to pay out tens of billions of dollars or more in claims to businesses that have been forced to close their doors to slow the spread of the pandemic.
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