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  #101  
Old 04-20-2020, 04:01 PM
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https://www.insurancejournal.com/new.../13/564520.htm

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California Orders Insurers to Refund Premiums to Drivers, Businesses Hit by COVID-19

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara on Monday ordered insurance companies to return insurance premiums to consumers and businesses and provide financial relief during the COVID-19 emergency.

The commissioner’s bulletin covers premiums paid for at least the months of March and April — including May if “shelter in place” restrictions continue — in at least six different insurance lines: private passenger automobile, commercial automobile; workers’ compensation; commercial multi-peril; commercial liability; medical malpractice; and any other insurance line where the risk of loss has fallen substantially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With Californians driving fewer miles and many businesses closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, consumers need relief from premiums that no longer reflect their present-day risk of accident or loss,” Lara said in a statement. “Today’s mandatory action will put money back in people’s pockets when they need it most.”

The commissioner’s bulletin requires insurance companies to provide a premium credit, reduction, return of premium, or other appropriate premium adjustment as soon as possible, and no later than August. Lara has already requested at least a 60-day grace period for policyholders to pay their premiums.

Numerous auto insurance companies have recently announced voluntary premium refunds to drivers. The bulletin extends these private personal auto policy reductions to more companies and adds commercial lines while monitoring insurance companies’ compliance with California’s consumer protection laws so that refunds are not discriminatory or inadequate.

A premium refund will not require prior approval by the California Department of Insurance if an insurance company follows certain methods outlined in the bulletin, such as using an average percentage based on estimated change in risk or exposure. Consumers will also have the opportunity to provide their individual actual or estimated experience to their insurance company.

Lara also ordered insurance companies to report back to the department all premium refunds they have issued or expect to issue within 60 days to provide oversight and ensure companies are complying with the bulletin.

Other Steps

Other steps related to the outbreak the commissioner and the department have taken include:
  • Requesting a 60-day grace period for consumers and businesses to pay insurance premiums
  • Extending deadlines for insurance claims until 90 days after the statewide “state of emergency” or any other “state of emergency” has ended related to COVID-19
  • Maintaining auto insurance for those with an expired license and/or car registration
  • Extending personal auto coverage for delivery drivers for California’s essential businesses
  • Eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and screening
  • Reminding insurance companies that worker’s comp insurance applies regardless of a worker’s immigration status
  • Urging uninsured Californians to obtain insurance to protect their health
  • Directing health insurance companies to provide increased telehealth access for consumers
  • Directing health insurance companies to submit emergency plans on prescriptions and health access
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  #102  
Old 04-20-2020, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Maphisto's Sidekick View Post
I'm not sure whether to post this here or in the political valence of the discussion...so I won't be offended if the mods move this.

Apparently the White House is coming out on the side of pressuring insurers to pay COVID-related business interruption losses.

https://www.insurancejournal.com/new.../14/564744.htm
There was an article in WSJ today that discussed this as well.

Part of the article implied that Trump had some connections to people in the restaurant industry and was fighting for their behalf.
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  #103  
Old 04-21-2020, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by act_123 View Post
There was an article in WSJ today that discussed this as well.

Part of the article implied that Trump had some connections to people in the restaurant industry and was fighting for their behalf.
link, please
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  #104  
Old 04-21-2020, 09:54 AM
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/restaur...ht-11587288600
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  #105  
Old 04-21-2020, 10:16 AM
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the text:

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Restaurants vs. Insurers Shapes Up as Main Event In D.C. Lobbying Fight
Hard-hit eateries press business-interruption claims, even on policies that excluded pandemics

Spoiler:
WASHINGTON -- The government's efforts to help businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic are triggering waves of lobbying skirmishes, and one of the biggest fights shaping up pits restaurants against the insurance industry.

Restaurants and their allies are lobbying President Trump and Congress to press insurance companies to cover "business interruption" claims stemming from the coronavirus, even where restaurants have policies that exclude losses from pandemics.

While insurers do offer coverage, those policies are significantly more expensive than standard business interruption policies, and few restaurants carry them, industry representatives said. But restaurants and some U.S. lawmakers said the business-shutdown orders in states and cities should constitute business interruptions under their existing policies.

Insurers are pushing back hard with the help of some Republican senators and conservative groups, saying retroactive changes to coverage policies and threats of lawsuits from restaurants could undermine the nation's insurance system.

"Exploiting this crisis with litigation profiteering will stop America's recovery before it even starts," said David Sampson, president and chief executive of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.

On the restaurant side, the fight is making for some strange bedfellows. Along with Thomas Keller of Napa Valley's French Laundry and California fusion cuisine pioneer Wolfgang Puck, the restaurateurs' effort is backed by chef-activist Jose Andres, who has frequently tangled with Mr. Trump, a Republican.

The alliance, called the Business Interruption Group, or BIG, has begun a public opinion and lobbying campaign to push insurers to pay claims even if restaurants don't have pandemic coverage, and demanding that the government reimburse insurers. The BIG coalition has said restaurants are the largest U.S. employer, supporting more than 15 million jobs, and responsible for about $1 trillion in contributions to the U.S. economy.

"We need insurance companies to do the right thing and save millions of jobs," said Mr. Keller on the group's website.

Along with Messrs. Puck and Keller, the founding chefs include restaurateur Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the owner of dozens of restaurants, including Jean-Georges.

Mr. Andres, who made his mark in Spanish-American cuisine and went on to launch the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, is a supporter. When Mr. Trump disparaged immigrants on the campaign trail, Mr. Andres canceled a deal to open a signature restaurant in the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Mr. Andres has often accused the president of turning his back on Latinos.

The battle is moving into Congress. Rep. Mike Thompson (D., Calif.) wrote a bill that would require insurers to provide disaster coverage in the future. Mr. Thompson's district includes the French Laundry, where dinner for two can cost $1,000.

On the other side, a group of Republican senators sent Mr. Trump a letter April 10 urging him not to take "knee-jerk administrative action" to rewrite insurance policies. Doing so, they wrote, "would undoubtedly undermine our insurance system."

More than 20 conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, founded by billionaire Charles Koch and his late brother David Koch, signed a letter sent to Congress on Wednesday urging limits on lawsuits stemming from the pandemic.

"While the rest of America has come together to fight this pandemic, some trial lawyers have instead plotted to line their pockets," the groups wrote. "If trial lawyers' predatory, self-serving agenda succeeds, it will hobble our nation's economic recovery," according to the letter.

So far, however, the restaurants seem to have Mr. Trump in their corner. In March, Mr. Keller and other chefs pressed Mr. Trump in a phone call to force insurance companies to pay. After the call, Mr. Trump said he had directed staff to "use any and all authority available to give restaurants, bars, clubs incentives to stay open."

On Tuesday, Mr. Trump named Messrs. Keller, Puck, Boulud and Vongerichten to a new advisory task force on reopening the economy.

Mr. Keller and the other chefs have also asked Mr. Trump to press Attorney General William Barr to issue an advisory opinion stating that the coronavirus created dangerous work conditions, according to John Houghtaling, a New Orleans attorney who was among the founding coalition members.

Mr. Houghtaling said he had reviewed hundreds of business interruption policies in recent days and says at least 20% of them cover losses from coronavirus-related shutdowns because businesses were asked to close by government officials.

Some state lawmakers are pressing for retroactive changes to existing policies to cover pandemics, which Mr. Houghtaling said would be unconstitutional. He said the chefs want the federal government to reimburse insurers for claims they voluntarily cover, even if the business didn't have pandemic coverage.

If the federal government can't develop a solution and insurers don't pay claims, Mr. Houghtaling said businesses will file lawsuits in every state to force insurers to cover coronavirus-related losses. By not paying claims on valid policies, "greedy insurance companies" are instead choosing to "line the pockets of defense lawyers," Mr. Houghtaling said.

Mr. Trump said at an April 10 White House press briefing that insurers should pay business-interruption insurance if their policies don't include the pandemic exclusion, noting that some companies have been paying premiums for a long time. "When they finally need it, the insurance companies say we are not going to give it," Mr. Trump said. "We cannot let that happen."

Insurers contend that paying claims for damages specifically excluded would be disastrous.

"Mandating coverage for this size and type of exposure while nullifying existing exclusions would amount to an unconstitutional abrogation of insurance contracts and end the very existence of the business interruption insurance market as we know it," wrote a group of insurance trade associations in a letter to Mr. Thompson.

Instead, the insurance industry wants Congress to create a government-backed fund that would pay claims that result from the coronavirus epidemic.

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D., N.Y.) and a coalition of House Democrats want insurers to cover losses stemming from city and state public-health shutdowns under business-interruption policies, but they acknowledge that government support might be needed.


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  #106  
Old 04-21-2020, 10:48 AM
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Thanks!
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