Small Businesses and Insurers Agree: We Need Legislation Like Maloney’s Pandemic Risk Insurance Act

Nov 19, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – At today’s Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance hearingInsuring against a Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions for Policyholders and Insurers,  business owners and insurance industry experts made clear that the lack of pandemic risk insurance is a pervasive problem that requires a federal response as set forth in Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney’s H.R. 7011, the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act. You can watch the Congresswoman’s opening statement here.

 

“Today’s hearing was an important step in moving forward with a plan to create a Federal program to support a market for pandemic risk insurance policies as outlined in my Pandemic Risk Insurance Act,” said Congresswoman Maloney after the hearing. “An overwhelming number of witnesses testified that this type of program is necessary and important for the economy and protecting businesses of all sizes in the event of future pandemics. 

 

“Tens of thousands of businesses large and small have been forced to close their doors permanently while entire industries — including travel, film, television, and hospitality — have been upended. They have no way to protect themselves from pandemic-related losses and we cannot continue to expose our economy and the small business community to this level of risk and expect them to recover. We know the Federal government will step in during the next crisis, and so we should be proactive now by developing a framework for Federal assistance.

 

“After today’s hearing, it’s clear that there is broad consensus that pandemic risk is insurable and that the best solution combines the strengths of the insurance industry with the scale and protection offered by the Federal government — truthfully, we’re now simply debating the best way to structure such a program and that is a huge step forward from where we were in the summer when some insurers didn’t want to talk about this at all. 

 

“I am focused now on working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and with stakeholders to do just that. I am excited to move forward with this bill and believe that it will be made law in the beginning days of Joe Biden’s presidency, concluded the Congresswoman.

 

In his opening remarks at today’s hearing, John Doyle, President & Chief Executive Officer, Marsh, iterated the importance of a public-private partnership:

 

“At Marsh, we believe that a public-private partnership is the best option to pursue for a pandemic risk solution. For that reason, I want to recognize the leading role that Congresswoman Maloney has had in the debate, including producing the legislation that has brought us here today.”

 

He continued, “The complex nature of pandemic risk means that we need strong, national pandemic risk management. This requires insurers, backed by the federal government, to write pandemic insurance policies and for brokers to contribute our risk knowledge and infrastructure. Widespread pandemic coverage would make the insurance sector the first line of economic response in future outbreaks. A public-private partnership will help facilitate coverage, align the needs of insurance buyers and insurers to avoid losses and incentivize pandemic risk preparedness and mitigation.”

 

Ann Cantrell, owner of Brooklyn-based Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store, testified that pandemic risk insurance would help small businesses like hers — and across the country — survive and bounce back from pandemic-related losses:

 

“Me and so many [other small business owners] would have hope and stability for the future.”

 

You can watch the full exchange between Ms. Cantrell and Congresswoman Maloney here.

 

Chubb, which has released its own pandemic risk insurance proposal that includes public/private risk-sharing provisions, was represented by Michelle Menendez McLaughlin, the Chief Underwriting Officer for Chubb North America, who agreed with Congresswoman Maloney that public/private risk-sharing is not only possible, but necessary, for any federal program, stating:

 

“Chubb feels that it’s very important for the industry to participate in a solution, by playing a risk-sharing role, because of the industry’s knowledge and experience, can help drive better behaviors. We really feel the industry needs to have some skin in the game here […] will lead to a better understanding of pandemic risk and will incentivize improved risk mitigation and preparedness.”

 

You can watch the full exchange here.

 

Background

Congresswoman Maloney introduced H.R. 7011, the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (PRIA), on May 26, 2020. 

 

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.

 

The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act would be an important step in Congress’s prevention efforts against economic losses from future pandemics by both requiring insurance companies to offer 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 anticipation of a resurgence of COVID-19 and 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.

 

Bill text can be found here.

 

A section-by-section summary can be found here.

 

PRIA Endorsing Organizations [55 total]

 

 

  1. Marsh & McLennan
  2. National Retail Federation
  3. Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers
  4. U.S. Travel Association
  5. National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
  6. American Society of Association Executives
  7. RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society 
  8. Independent Film & Television Alliance
  9. Swiss Re
  10. Nonprofit New York
  11. University Risk Management and Insurance Association (URMIA)
  12. American Hotel & Lodging Association
  13. International Council of Shopping Centers 
  14. Go LIVE Together
  15. Retail Industry Leaders Association 
  16. International Franchise Association
  17. National Multifamily Housing Council
  18. Small Business Advocacy Council
  19. Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO)
  20. International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)
  21. Events Industry Council (EIC)
  22. National Apartment Association
  23. American Apparel & Footwear Association
  24. Partnership for New York City
  25. Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS)
  26. International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association
  27. Population Association of America
  28. Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities
  29. National Business Aviation Association
  30. Coalition of Endurance Sports Event Organizers
  31. Weill Cornell Medicine
  32. CCIM Institute
  33. National Waste & Recycling Association
  34. Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries
  35. Institute of Real Estate Management
  36. The Travel Technology Association
  37. Travel Goods Association (TGA)
  38. International Warehouse Logistics Association
  39. Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA)
  40. Quantum XYZ
  41. Accessories Council
  42. American Bridal and Prom Industry Association (ABPIA)
  43. Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)
  44. American Jail Association
  45. Association of Woodworking and Furnishing Supplies
  46. Association of Marina Industries
  47. School Social Work Association of America
  48. National Commission on Correctional Healthcare
  49. National Career Development Association
  50. Tile Council of North America
  51. Modular Building Institute
  52. World Floor Covering Association
  53. Young Audiences Arts for Learning
  54. American Case Management Association
  55. The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society