April 21, 2020: Joseph G. Harraka, Jr. Esq., Co-Transportation Practice Leader of Becker LLC, interviewed fellow Industry Partner Mike DeStasio, Executive Vice President at Assured Partners about the hot topics Mike is consulting with his Transportation clients about during the COVID19 crisis.
Harraka: What are the types of key questions regarding insurance coverage or other areas of concern that you are fielding from your industry clients looking for assistance and support from you and Assured to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis? What advice are you giving them? DeStasio: We are being asked many questions regarding the availability of Business Income coverage in light of the various lockdown orders that have been imposed and which have negatively impacted and interrupted a number of our customers’ business operations. While virtually all Business Income coverage is triggered by a “Direct Physical Loss” to property which may not be present, we still are reporting these claims to the insurance carriers and seeking coverage on behalf of our clients. To date, all of the insurance carriers have denied coverage for such claims. I understand that there are bills being considered in several states which will force the insurance carriers to pay for COVID-19 Business Income related claims but none have been brought up for a vote as of yet or have passed. There is also federal legislation pending introduced by Maxine Waters (D-CA) to create a federal back-stop for Pandemic claims similar to TRIA called PRIA (Pandemic Risk Insurance Act) on a going forward basis. There is also a federal bill that would retroactively give Business Income Coverage for this event, but I understand that it has not gotten any traction as of yet. In my opinion, retroactively granting coverage in any fashion could create years of litigation given that no insurance carriers charged premiums for such potential risk and exposure.