New York representative Carolyn B. Maloney has introduced the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) bill to congress. The legislation proposes a government backstop to reimburse insurers for 95% of their claims costs where they’re linked to a pandemic. According to reports, more than 24 US business organisations, including the International Franchise Association and the International Council of Shopping Centers, have endorsed the bill. Maloney also has support from the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers and insurance firm Marsh & McLennan. the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), and Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, have opposed the bill. Instead they’re attempting to raise the profile of their own plan, which would see the government take on 100% of the risk and pay out through the existing infrastructure within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Maloney is currently seeking a Republican co-sponsor to increase the chance of bipartisan support for the bill in congress.
French insurance giant AXA has been forced to pay two months of lost income to Paris restaurant owner Stéphane Manigold to cover the interruption to his four eateries caused by Covid-19. The insurer lost its case fought to uphold the denial of a payout to Manigold last week, and AXA has since said it will appeal the decision. Despite this, CEO Thomas Buberl signalled a desire to engage with policyholders with similar coverage and avoid further court battles. He said: “These contracts represent less than 10% out of total contracts with restaurant owners and I am confident that we will find a solution. We want to compensate a substantial part of these contracts, we want to do it quickly.” With ongoing legal battles in the UK and US between hospitality businesses and their insurers, it’s likely the outcome of AXA’s appeal will be watched closely by those hoping the decision will be upheld and set a precedent that will cross borders.