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House Hearing Examines Pandemic Insurance Proposals

The House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance held a virtual hearing examining how the pandemic has impacted the insurance industry and how to insure for the future. The Big "I" submitted written testimony.
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u.s. house hearing examines pandemic insurance

On Thursday, the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance held a virtual hearing, “Insuring against a Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions for Policyholders and Insurers." Chaired by Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Missouri) and Ranking Member Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), the hearing examined how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted small business and the insurance market and explored a possible insurance role in a government-backed program to provide financial assistance to businesses in future pandemics.

Testifying at the hearing, among others, were Brian Kuhlmann, chief corporate counsel, Shelter Insurance, on behalf of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) and National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC); John Doyle, president & chief executive officer, Marsh and McLennan; Michelle Melendez McLaughlin, chief underwriting officer, Chubb North America; R.J Lehmann, executive editor and senior fellow, International Center for Law and Economics; and Ann Cantrell, owner, Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store, on behalf of the National Retail Foundation. 

Much of the discussion centered around the various proposals designed to address future pandemic risk, including Rep. Carolyn Maloney's (D-New York) H.R. 7011, known as the “Pandemic Risk Insurance Act" (PRIA), and the Business Continuity Protection Program (BCPP) proposal offered by the Big “I," NAMIC, and APCIA. The business interruption insurance market was also briefly discussed.

In written testimony submitted to the committee, the Big “I" affirmed its specific support for the BCPP. Furthermore, the Big “I" noted other meaningful proposals, such as the Business Continuity Coalition's proposal. That plan relies heavily on the BCPP framework and envisions the same type of parametric program.

Overall, the Big “I" believes it is necessary to create a program that reflects the unique nature of pandemics, is government-backed, is timely in its assistance, and utilizes the insurance market as the delivery mechanism.

Joseph Cortina is Big “I" director, federal government affairs.

Thursday, November 19, 2020
On the Hill