Prior to the Ohio House recessing for the summer, the House Insurance Committee held a hearing on legislation that was introduced in March to require insurance policies to retroactively cover BI claims resulting from the pandemic. Specifically, House Bill 589 would require every policy of insurance insuring against loss or damage to property, which includes the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption, in force in Ohio when Ohio’s state of emergency declared under Executive Order 2020-01D took effect on March 9, 2020, to include among the covered perils under that policy, coverage for business interruption due to global virus transmission or pandemic during the state of emergency.
H.B. 589 also would create a process in which insurers would be assessed by the Ohio Department of Insurance (ODI) and then can apply to ODI for reimbursement for claims paid to insureds. Insurers writing any property and casualty coverage—even those not writing commercial property insurance—will be responsible for funding the reimbursement fund. See a complete analysis of this bill.
When this legislation was first introduced, we vetted it with OIA’s Advocacy Committee. OIA’s position continues to be that H.B. 589 does not take the right approach. Several initiatives, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Main Street Lending Program, have already been implemented at the federal level to address this crisis and provide relief to businesses.
We anticipate this hearing was the one and only hearing that H.B. 589 will receive, as most legislators understand this bill is not the solution and that BI insurance does not provide coverage for these losses. A video of the House Insurance Committee hearing can be found here.