COLUMBUS – State Representatives John Rogers (D-Mentor-On-The-Lake) and Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) yesterday gave sponsor testimony before the Ohio House Insurance Committee on House Bill (HB) 589, to create the Business Interruption Insurance Coverage Act. This legislation would require certain business interruption insurance coverage policies to cover losses due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“All of us share the desire to ensure and support the continued wellbeing of Ohio’s small and medium sized businesses, indeed all of our businesses,” Rogers said. “House Bill 589 creates an opportunity to begin a dialogue that may ultimately produce a solution to help Ohio businesses weather these uncertain economic times. Nearly 20 other similar pieces of legislation are being considered throughout the country, and I believe this speaks to the fact that many are considering how the insurance industry may share in the solution going forward.”

“The goal of the legislation is to bring relief to small business who are already feeling a financial strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic shut down, and were shut out of relief efforts offered by the federal court,” Crossman said. “This legislation is designed to help businesses along our Ohio main streets as we work through a pandemic that has created a financial crisis, not only for the businesses, but for our friends and neighbors who operate their business and deserve to earn a living. We cannot keep the economy thriving if we don’t help them stay in business.”

This legislation would:

  • Require certain policies of property and casualty insurance to provide coverage for business interruption losses to cover losses attributable to pandemic;
  • Apply to policies of insurance in effect on the effective date of the bill for losses accrued during the State of Emergency declared by the Governor on March 9, 2020;
  • Enable insurers providing the required coverage to apply to the Superintendent for reimbursement;
  • Require the Superintendent to impose an assessment on all property and casualty insurers to recoup amounts reimbursed to insurers;
  • Declare an emergency, allowing the proposal to go into effect immediately upon enactment.

The bill now awaits further hearings in the House Insurance Committee.