Rep. Maloney Reintroduces the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act to Protect Businesses of All Sizes in Future Pandemics

Nov 2, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DCCongresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, today reintroduced the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2021 (PRIA). This legislation will create the Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program, a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses resulting from future pandemics or public health emergencies. Congresswoman Maloney first introduced a version of this legislation in May 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act would be an important step in Congress’s prevention efforts against economic losses from future pandemics by requiring insurance companies to offer parametric non-damage business interruption insurance policies that cover pandemics and creating a Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to cover these losses and protect our economy in the event of a resurgence of COVID-19 or future pandemics. Like the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), the federal government would serve as a backstop to maintain marketplace stability and to share the burden alongside private industry.

 

“There is broad consensus that we need a program like the one created by PRIA – to provide business owners and our economy with better stability in the event of any future pandemics,” said Rep. Maloney. “A forward-looking, public-private partnership like this, one supported by a federal backstop, will help businesses keep their employees on payroll and weather the storm that a public health emergency brings. Congress needs to be proactive in helping businesses protect themselves from economic losses because of pandemics, which we have seen can be devastating to businesses of all sizes — from the mom-and-pop grocery down the street to larger businesses.”

 

“The Business Continuity Coalition (BCC) – a multi-industry policyholder group representing 50 industries and companies advocating for a program to keep jobs and businesses protected in future pandemics – commends the leadership of Representative Maloney, and supports the introduction of the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2021. The insurance market disruption that has resulted from the current pandemic requires a public-private partnership to ensure that our economy is properly protected against pandemic risk going forward. PRIA would create a federal backstop that ensures the availability of pandemic risk coverage in all critical commercial lines of insurance, helping the country prepare and respond to any future government-imposed shutdowns of the economy caused by pandemics. The BCC urges strong bipartisan support for this critical issue,” said the Business Continuity Coalition.

 

“New York City’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs were devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the failure of their insurers to pay business interruption insurance claims compounded the economic crisis for small business owners,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of NYC Hospitality Alliance. “That’s why, we commend Congresswoman Maloney and strongly support her Pandemic Risk Insurance Act to ensure that if the hospitality industry ever faces another pandemic crisis, their insurance policies will pay their claims, which will support their survival, livelihoods, preserve jobs and help sustain the economy.”

 

“Congress must take swift action and begin contemplating a solution to provide all businesses protection against future pandemic risks,” said Leon Buck, National Retail Federation Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services. “The development of a public-private partnership to address this risk will provide certainty for businesses and organizations of all sizes and will ensure that we can meet future pandemic events with greater reliance. Not every pandemic will have worldwide impact, but when and where one occurs it is likely to result in a nearly total cessation of business. This legislation is the cornerstone of a proactive approach in managing the risk and impact of a pandemic or epidemic in the future.”

 

“ASAE is proud to support Congresswoman Maloney and her invaluable Pandemic Risk Insurance Act,” said Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, President & CEO of American Society of Association Executives. “ASAE has long supported the Congresswoman’s efforts to help fully reestablish our economy, and PRIA will help us get there. PRIA’s coverage for event cancellation is especially critical to our association community whose lifeblood courses from in-person events of all sizes and scope. ASAE thanks and applauds Congresswoman Maloney for introducing this important bill, which will no doubt help provide associations the security they need to fully reignite our community’s far-reaching economic impact through industry-focused conferences and events, among other crucial services.”

 

“It’s clear that without significant reforms to the business interruption and event cancellation insurance markets, travel businesses will not be able to get the type of coverage they need to reduce economic uncertainty and build a stable path to recovery,” said Tori Barnes, U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy. “The sooner we stabilize the market for pandemic risk insurance, the sooner travel businesses can get back to business.”

 

“The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) applauds Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney for her perseverance in crafting legislation that speaks to the needs of so many businesses across all industries and we welcome the opportunity to work with Congress to achieve bi-partisan support,” said Jean Prewitt, President and CEO of IFTA. “The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (“PRIA”) introduced today would create the public-private solution that is needed to restore full film production in the U.S., through a federal mandate and financial backstop for carriers that ensures the availability of pandemic risk coverage in all critical commercial lines of insurance, including specialty lines such as event cancellation and film production.”

 

“The Motion Picture Association supports the proposed creation of a public-private partnership in which the federal government provides a financial backstop for the insurance industry to support pandemic-related insurance offerings. This plan would produce the long-term certainty that the film, television, and streaming industry needs to further innovate and grow the creative economy. We are grateful for the leadership of Representative Maloney to take on this critical issue for our industry,” said Patrick Kilcur, Executive Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at the Motion Picture Association.

 

“We applaud Chair Maloney’s introduction of legislation to improve how the economy manages financial losses caused by health pandemics. The US economy and businesses and communities across the US need efficient and meaningful tools like PRIA to weather these pandemics going forward,” said Lisa Pendergast, Executive Director, Commercial Real Estate Finance Council.

 

“The introduction of the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2021 is an important step,” said James Whelan, President of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). “Just as the terrorist attacks of 9/11 exposed a critical gap in the commercial insurance market twenty years ago, the coronavirus crisis has revealed the key role that insurance plays in the smooth functioning of New York City’s world-leading real estate market. A newly created pandemic risk insurance program will help put New York City’s economic recovery on stronger footing by ensuring that the impacts of any future pandemic are more effectively managed, protecting jobs and economic activity that are vital to our economy and residents. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and her colleagues are to be commended for moving forward on this sensible legislation.”

AHLA applauds Rep. Maloney for introducing this legislation, which would help ensure America’s travel industry has a critical safety net in the event of a future pandemic,” said Chip Rogers, President and CEO, American Hotel and Lodging Association. “Had this bill been law before COVID-19, hotel owners could have purchased affordable insurance that would have helped keep thousands of workers employed and offset the billions in economic losses hotels have experienced since. COVID-19 is the worst economic event in the history of the American lodging industry, and this bill would provide crucial protection for hotel employees and small business owners if our nation ever faces another pandemic.”

The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act is endorsed by the Business Continuity Coalition (BCC); American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA); American Society of Association Executives (ASAE); Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International; Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance; ICSC; Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA); Institute for Portfolio Alternatives (IPA); International Association of Exhibitions and Events; Motion Picture Association; Nareit; National Apartment Association (NAA); National Council of Nonprofits; Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC); National Retail Federation (NRF); NYC Hospitality Alliance; Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY); RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society®; Society of Independent Show Organizers; and U.S. Travel Association.

 

Background

The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2021 will require insurers make available in all their property and casualty insurance policies coverage for insured losses due to covered public health emergencies. The bill would also require insurers make available parametric non-damage business interruption insurance coverage in their commercial property insurance policies or else arrange for such coverage through an affiliate or a parametric insurance facility. Such coverage would have to include compensation for up to 180 days’ fixed costs and payroll for covered public health emergencies. Insurers are not prohibited from offering coverage above and beyond that level. Under the bill, the federal government would serve as a backstop to maintain marketplace stability and to share the burden alongside private industry.

 

Bill text can be found here.

 

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