Retailers Support Pandemic Insurance Proposal

Alan Wolf, YSN

The world’s largest retail trade association has thrown its support behind national legislation that would help businesses obtain insurance coverage for pandemics.

The Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) would require insurance companies to offer policies that cover pandemics and would reimburse insurers when claims exceed $250 million nationwide.

The proposal is endorsed by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which provided input to the House Financial Services Committee in drafting the measure. Introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the legislation is modeled after the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which helped businesses obtain insurance coverage against acts of terrorism in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“Congress must take swift action on a solution to provide all businesses protection against future pandemic risks,” said Leon Buck, the NRF’s Vice President for Government Relations, Banking and Financial Services. “The development of a public-private partnership to address this risk will provide certainty for businesses and organizations of all sizes and will ensure that we can meet future pandemic events with greater resilience.”

Under the initiative, covered businesses would have to demonstrate that they had suffered significant business interruption with a sharp decline in revenue. The program would only cover future pandemics, not claims stemming from the current COVID-19 outbreak, and would be capped at $750 billion.

The NRF described coverage against pandemics as “crucial” for retailers as they seek to renew leases, invest in real estate, order inventory, plan for capital improvements and hire or re-hire workers in coming months.