Big ‘I’ Weighs In with Administration and Congress on Coronavirus Response

The Big “I” issued two letters this week and continues to engage both the administration and Congress on solutions to address the economic, health, and social challenges caused by coronavirus.

On Wednesday, the Big “I” joined several small business organizations including the National Federation of Independent Business and the S Corporation Association in sending a letter to the White House regarding the federal response to coronavirus and what could be done to support small businesses.

The letter notes that in order to minimize the number of businesses closed and workers unemployed, the response from Washington needs to be coordinated, massive and focused on ensuring that all employers have the resources necessary to ride out the pandemic. The letter then provides these three specific steps the federal government could take to help small businesses in response to the pandemic:

1) Immediately provide readily accessible, unsecured credit to employers of all sizes to ensure they have the cash to pay their workers, rent and other costs during this crisis. 

2) Suspend the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic. These suspended taxes should include taxes owed for the 2019 tax year, estimated payments for 2020 and all payroll tax obligations. 

3) Amend the tax code to, among other items, restore the ability of businesses to carryback any net operating losses against previous year tax payments; suspend the application of the Section 163(j) limitation on interest expense deductions for the 2020 tax year to avoid penalizing businesses for borrowing during this crisis; and suspend the Section 461(l) loss limitation on pass-through businesses to allow businesses to fully deduct any losses they incur this year. 

On Thursday, the Big “I,” along with the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, responded to a bipartisan letter from members of Congress addressed to those four groups urging the property-casualty industry to retroactively include coronavirus in business interruption policies. The industry letter notes that business interruption policies do not, and were not, designed to provide coverage against communicable diseases such as coronavirus.

The letter also notes an industry-wide commitment to identifying and implementing solutions to get through this pandemic, as well as offering flexibility for premium payments and ongoing charitable efforts.

The Big “I” will continue to provide updates on the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak and how the Big “I” is advocating for its members and their clients throughout the duration of the pandemic.

Joseph Cortina is Big “I” director, federal government affairs, and Wyatt Stewart is Big “I” senior director, federal government affairs.

To help Big “I” members prepare and respond to the coronavirus epidemic, the association created a resource page, which will be updated as the outbreak develops.