Business interruption coverage provided in commercial property insurance—including business owner policies, commercial multiple peril policies, and specialized multiple peril policies—must be explained to policyholders under a March 10 directive to property and casualty insurers issued by the New York Department of Financial Services.
Property and casualty insurers who write business interruption coverage in New York must address the points listed below.
- Identification of the type of commercial property insurance held by the insured, and whether the policy includes “business interruption” coverage.
- If business interruption coverage is provided, the insurer must disclose the “covered perils” and whether there is a requirement for “physical damage or loss.” Further, the insurer must address what type of damage or loss is sufficient for coverage under the policy if it relates to “contingent business interruption” coverage.
- Whether the policy provides “civil authority” coverage?
- Coverage that applies to a “supply chain” for products or services from a named supplier or company.
- Details on any waiting periods for coverage, and how long coverage remains in effect once it becomes applicable.
The action is in response to questions policyholders are asking in regard to the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (“COVID-19”). The Department notes that “business interruption” coverage can vary in regard to the definition of “covered perils” and “physical loss or damage.”
The letter is titled, “Call for Special Report Pursuant to Section 308, New York Insurance Law: Business Interruption and Related Coverage Written in New York.” Insurers were given only until March 18 to respond to the directive.
Click on the link to read the full March 10 letter from the New York Department of Financial Services.
Coronavirus Preparedness Plans in New York
New York also issued Insurance Circular Letter No. 5 (2020) on March 10, “requesting assurance that all regulated entities have preparedness plans to address the operational risk, and are identifying, monitoring, and managing the financial risk, posed by COVID-19.”
California Grants Policyholders a Grace Period on Premiums
In California, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a March 18 Notice requesting that all insurance companies give policyholders up to a 60-day grace period to pay insurance premiums. The Commissioner seeks to avert situations where policies are cancelled for nonpayment of premium due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.
The California notice applies to all admitted and non-admitted insurance companies that provide any insurance coverage in California including, life, health, auto, property, casualty, and other types of insurance.
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This article is provided for educational purposes only. It is not to be interpreted as legal advice or an opinion in regard to any topic discussed. The article should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Every situation is different and circumstances vary widely depending on the governing state law, policy provisions, and related considerations.