Ohio House Introduces Bill to Require Insurance Companies to Cover Business Interruption Losses for Small Businesses
On March 24, 2020, members of the Ohio House of Representatives introduced H.B. No. 589 to require that certain insurance cover pandemic losses. The Bill is designed to “require insurers offering business interruption insurance to cover losses attributable to viruses and pandemics and to declare an emergency.” The proposed legislation seeks to eliminate any current impediments to coverage, such as exclusions for virus and pandemic related losses, under policies “insuring against loss or damage to property, which includes the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption.” If passed, it would require insurers to provide such coverage under existing business insurance policies, up to policy limits, for business interruption losses that occur during the entire time of the state of emergency declared by Governor DeWine on March 8, 2020.
The proposed law is focused on providing relief to small businesses suffering from the effects of the coronavirus emergency, because it applies only to businesses operating in Ohio that have 100 or fewer employees. The Bill also creates a process for insurers that must provide such coverage to later seek reimbursement of loss payouts from the Superintendent of Insurance from a special fund to be created from specific assessments imposed on insurance companies that issue business interruption coverage.
There are still several steps in the legislative process before this proposal could become law. If passed and signed by Governor DeWine it would become effective immediately. We will provide updates as they become available.
To best serve our public and private sector clients, Mazanec, Raskin & Ryder Co., LPA established a Coronavirus Legal Team to help all our clients address the wide variety of challenges and issues they face in the current crisis. For assistance in addressing these concerns or in developing other plans to protect your business, please contact MRR Partners George Pilat or David Smith (Cleveland), or Stacy Pollock (Columbus), and they will involve the appropriate members of the MRR Team.