Carolyn Maloney, the Democratic US Representative for New York, is turning to Hollywood for support over the bill she is currently sponsoring – the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (PRIA).
PRIA aims for the establishment of a government-administered insurance backstop that would pay for business interruption claims related to a pandemic. Once the Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program is established, participating insurance companies will annually pay deductibles to fund the program. The bill also provides for the treatment of existing business interruption insurance policies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill was discussed during a US House Committee on Financial Services hearing last week, with some insurance industry representatives and Congress members expressing their reservations on the measure.
But Representative Maloney is firm in the belief that the bill she is sponsoring will be passed. To garner support for the bill, she has been collaborating with Hollywood companies such as the Motion Picture Association, the Independent Film & Television Alliance, The Internet & Television Association, IATSE, Directors Guild of America, NAB, Producers Guild of America, NPACT and SAG-AFTRA. The representative also revealed that she is in talks with several studios, unions and film and television productions companies.
“I'm going to be working hard to get a consensus to introduce a bill in the new Congress and try to move it in the first 100 days of a Biden administration,” Maloney told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview. “I believe I heard a consensus that's been formed so that we're just debating the best way to structure the program, and I'm open to collaborating with everyone.”
Some members of Congress had expressed during the hearing that Congress should not pass legislation related to pandemic insurance until after the pandemic is over, reasoning that it would be safer to know what works best. To this, Maloney responded that the government has to come up with a plan now before the same thing happens again.
“We're in a crisis situation. But we also have a lot to look forward: At the very least I believe we can't afford to wait any longer. We need to start developing a plan now so we aren't having the same conversation again about a lack of coverage,” she said.
Maloney revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that she has been informed that that film and TV production declined nearly 98% in the last quarter, compared to last year. Those same industry experts also told her that without some form of pandemic risk insurance, film and TV producers will be unable to resume production since their lenders usually require coverage.
The representative also noted that other countries such as Canada, France, Germany, and the UK have all quickly passed similar programs to cover their entertainment industry’s risks. If America is unable to keep up with such things, Maloney fears that it would lead to a huge blow for the US film industry.
“The film industry's a big industry in New York state and New York City and if we aren't equally proactive as Canada in providing the same relief, that film and TV producers will be forced to take projects to other countries, robbing our country, our states and our cities and communities of tens of thousands of jobs.”