The Big “I" testimony noted that the businesses and nonprofit organizations our members serve were severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and want to be a part of the solution on future pandemic risk.
This week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment held a hearing titled, “Examining Frameworks to Address Future Pandemic Risk." The Committee received testimony from a broad range of perspectives, including the insurance industry, policyholders, and academics.
The Big “I" submitted testimony noting that the businesses and nonprofit organizations our members serve have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in distressing and sometimes heartbreaking ways and that our agents want to be a part of the solution on future pandemic risk.
In the testimony, the Big “I" noted that any proposal for addressing future pandemics should satisfy four principles:
- Any legislative solution must effectively meet the needs of the businesses independent agents and brokers serve.
- Any prospective solution should provide an active and relevant role for the insurance industry in the delivery of assistance for business insurance consumers, which is a perspective shared by a growing universe of policymakers and industries.
- Given the unique nature of pandemic risk, it is essential that the federal government bear all or nearly all of the financial responsibility for business losses associated with COVID-19-like events.
- The product or program designed to fill this protection gap must reflect the unique nature of pandemics. Among other things, this means the product must be parametric in nature and obviate the need for traditional claims adjustment.
At the end of the testimony, the Big “I" stated that one proposal that satisfies these high-level principles is the Business Continuity Protection Program. Importantly, however, the Big “I" also notes that there may be other meaningful proposals that satisfy the principles outlined above and those proposals deserve serious consideration as well.
Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs.