COVID-19: PA Insurance Department Warns of Risks, Increased Liability and Lack of Insurance Coverage due to Non-Compliance of Business Closure Orders

Earlier today on May 11th, PA Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman reminded businesses of the importance of complying with Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s orders – for counties in both the red and yellow phases.

In addition to the critical public health objectives, Commissioner Altman warned non-compliant businesses defying the governor and secretary’s business closure orders that many insurance policies contain provisions that exclude coverage for businesses or individuals engaging in illegal acts or conduct. These exclusions may apply to property coverage, liability coverage, advertising injury coverage, and a host of other essential coverages.

“Businesses and residents rely on insurance coverage to protect them from liability, pay for covered losses, and compensate those who may be injured or harmed,” said Altman. “It is the duty of every business and resident in Pennsylvania to ensure that they and the public at large are provided with the maximum level of protection afforded by insurance. Any actions that could potentially create coverage gaps are the antitheses of the civil duty required of all residents during these times of emergency.”

This reminder was offered to all Pennsylvania businesses and residents, regardless of in what county they reside.

Comments were also directed at restaurants and their liquor licenses – reminding PA restaurant owners that restaurants that reopen for dine-in service in counties that have not been authorized to reopen will be at risk of losing their liquor license.

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information:

If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Dominica Anderson, Eve Klein, Elizabeth Mincer or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe!

TRIA (Terrorism Risk Insurance Act) is reauthorized for 7 years – through 12-31-2027

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed a spending bill that includes a 7-year extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA).

TRIA was originally passed in November 2002 as a response to the insurance industry’s inability to cover the scale of losses associated with the September 11 attacks. On a prospective basis, acts of terrorism continue to present numerous challenges in modeling risk due to the infrequency, unpredictability, and of the magnitude of potential attacks. According to CRE Financial, Federal participation in supporting private insurance provides the support and certainty of coverage for policyholders and avoids the potential disruption that a lapse in coverage would create.

The bill essentially left the TRIA program structure unchanged, as significant reforms occurred in the last reauthorization effort. TRIA is now reauthorized through December 2027.