States Introduce Legislation: Business Interruption Policies Would Be Required To Cover COVID-19-Related Claims

 Thursday, May 7, 2020

 Venable LLP

Eight states (Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina) have introduced legislation that would require specified business interruption policies to cover claims for small businesses based on coronavirus for the duration of the public health emergency, even in the face of a specific virus exclusion.

While multiple versions of the bills have been introduced, key features include the following: The bills in Louisiana, New Jersey, Michigan, and Ohio would provide coverage only for insureds with fewer than 100 full-time-equivalent employees.

In Massachusetts and South Carolina, coverage would be provided for insureds with fewer than 150 full-time employees; the New York bill, as amended, would put the cap at 250.

Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Massachusetts would count only employees in that state for the purposes of this provision. Ohio would require that the business be located in the state, but the bill says nothing about where the employees should be located.

The latest bill in Pennsylvania, instead of setting a hard cap on the number of employees, states that any company that satisfies the United States Small Business Administration’s criteria, or that receives SBA funding, would be covered by the proposed legislation.
Legislation & Regulation