New pandemic insurance bill is "first salvo"

New pandemic insurance bill is "first salvo" | Insurance Business

New pandemic insurance bill is "first salvo"

US Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has introduced a bill which would pave the way for an insurance program that would cover pandemic-related business losses.

The bill, called the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA), calls for the establishment of a Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program. This program – which would be funded by both public and private sources – would be used to cover business losses from pandemics or other public health emergencies. Under the proposed legislation, businesses can purchase pandemic insurance, and once a public health emergency occurs, both the federal government and insurers will share financial responsibility for covering the claims up to $750 billion.

Hollywood Reporter said that Maloney introduced the bill after discussions with studios, producers, and news media.

“We have been talking to a lot of people in the media. They are concerned about event cancellations and other things. They have expressed interest, very much so,” the representative said in a press call. “We’ve talked to [studios], too, they’re interested, too, and news media, news stations and Hollywood producers. ... They’ve all weighed in in certain ways.”

Maloney did not specify if there were any provisions in the bill for the entertainment industry.

Some experts have warned that without proper insurance, the entertainment industry – particularly independent producers – would run into issues such as difficulties getting projects bonded.

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Deadline reported that Maloney had more than 20 stakeholders supporting the bill, and that she is talking with Republicans to find a co-sponsor for the bill. She is also planning to meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to discuss the legislation.

Supporters for the bill include the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers and insurance brokerage Marsh & McLennan. Maloney also said that some other insurance companies have backed the bill, but she did not identify them by name.

The representative added that the bill is just a “first salvo” which will eventually be rewritten with input from other parties. She also believes the bill will ultimately pass due to the great need of businesses for coverage, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose an unprecedented economic challenge.