The House Corporations Committee recently heard testimony on legislation introduced by Rep. Joseph M. McNamara (D-Dist. 19, Warwick, Cranston) that would help businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis by guaranteeing that business interruption insurance would cover their losses regardless of policy language.
“Many small businesses in my district that were sold business interruption insurance policies have complained that their insurance companies have denied coverage for pandemic-related losses,” McNamara told the committee. “If insurance companies are going to continue to aggressively sell these products, they should step up to the plate and deliver on their promises.”
The legislation (2021- H 5052) would make certain that those who have business interruption insurance policies would be indemnified by insurance companies if they suffered a loss related to the COVID-19 pandemic during Rhode Island’s state of emergency.
The bill, which would apply to restaurants, retailers and other businesses, would require insurers to approve claims notwithstanding any virus exclusions or policy requirements that there also be property damage accompanying the business interruption.
“We’re treading new ground here,” said McNamara. “We’re going to have to address what has quickly become a hard-hitting financial nightmare by stepping up and providing some relief to the businesses that are the backbone of our state.”