09/14/2020 | by

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, was joined Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, by stakeholders from the business community and the insurance industry to discuss their perspectives on the importance of H.R. 7011, the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (PRIA), and to emphasize the need for Congress to act quickly, and on a bi-partisan basis.

PRIA, introduced by Rep. Maloney on May 26, 2020, would create a framework for insurance companies to offer business interruption insurance policies that cover pandemics, and would create a reinsurance program with a federal backstop to ensure the insurance industry has enough capacity to insure losses caused by pandemics. The Federal backstop will make sure that these business interruption policies are both widely available and affordable for small businesses, and maintain marketplace stability.

Nareit President and CEO Steven A. Wechsler participated in the roundtable discussion, and in his opening statement said, “As the economic shutdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic began to weigh on the economy, Nareit joined with a number of other business groups to explore the formation of a Business Continuity Coalition (BCC), a joint effort to support the work of public policymakers to find ways to limit potential economic damage from future pandemics and other national emergencies. Through the BCC, Nareit is supportive of a business continuity insurance program that, in the event of a future government-mandated shutdown, will enable businesses and other employers to keep payrolls and supply chains intact, protecting the jobs of their employees. Through the BCC, Nareit supports a sound public-private program that meets the needs of a broad range of groups: workers, businesses, insurers, lenders, and taxpayers.”

“As we learned through development of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, it is far better to plan and prepare now for the next time than to wait for the next crisis. Madam Chairwoman, in closing, I want to thank for your leadership in the past with respect to TRIA and your very constructive leadership today in the context of evolving economic risks related to pandemic-related and other potential government shutdowns of the economy.” 

Other participating business and insurance industry leaders included:

  • Susan Robertson, President and CEO, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
  • Scott Sinder, Chief Legal Counsel, Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers (CIAB)
  • Scott Baskin, CEO, Small Business Advisory Council (SBAC)
  • Tarique Nageer, Terrorism Placement Advisory and Leader, Property Practice, Marsh & McLennan Companies
  • Robert Gordon, senior vice president, policy, research and international, American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA)
  • Don Preston Jr., Senior Vice President, Swiss Re Americas
  • Joe Wayland, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Chubb Group
  • Kevin Donnelly, Vice President for Government Affairs, National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)
  • Leon Buck, Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services, National Retail Federation
  • Jean Prewitt, President and CEO, Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA)
  • Patrick Sterling, Head of Risk Management Texas Roadhouse, Member, RIMS Board of Directors
  • Wayne White, President-elect, National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA)

The leaders that gathered with Congresswoman Maloney to discuss the importance of PRIA will continue to reconvene, and collectively will work to collect the necessary signatures to ensure consideration of PRIA by Congress.

“As we saw during today’s roundtable, there is broad consensus that we need a program like the one created by PRIA – to provide business owners and our economy with better stability in the event of any future pandemics. A forward-looking, public-private partnership like this, one supported by a federal backstop, will help businesses keep their employees on payroll and weather the storm that a public health emergency brings. Congress needs to be proactive in helping businesses protect themselves from economic losses as a result of pandemics, which, as we’ve seen, can be devastating to businesses of all sizes — from the mom and pop grocery down the street to institutions like Lord & Taylor,” said Congresswoman Maloney.

Video of today’s roundtable discussion is available here.

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