A revised California bill would define coronavirus-related losses as direct physical damage in an effort to let businesses pursue business interruption claims for such losses since March 4. APCIA President and CEO David Sampson said the bill "is likely unconstitutional" and that APCIA will "aggressively defend" against measures that would effectively rewrite contracts.
The rise of litigation funding and nuclear verdicts, which are judgments of more than $10 million, are contributing to higher insurance rates for the trucking industry, according to experts. "Effectively, you've got someone who's got no interest in the case whatsoever funding a lot of these cases and rolling the dice to see if they have an opportunity for a big win," and juries are frequently unaware of that fact, said Todd Reiser of Lockton.
A survey of property casualty insurance sector employees found 48% of respondents saying they would like at least three months before returning to the office, with 13% preferring nine months to a year. Comments in the survey show employees with concerns about their health and their co-workers' health during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pacific Gas and Electric has exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection now that its reorganization is complete. The utility recently pleaded guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter in connection with the 2018 Camp Fire, and its debt has risen to nearly $40 billion as it pursues fire-risk mitigation efforts and owes $25.5 billion in settlements to wildfire victims, insurers and governmental agencies.
Parts of northern Mississippi experienced heavy rain that caused flash flooding on Wednesday. Vehicles were stranded, and at least one person was rescued from a residence, while parts of Tennessee also saw flooding.
The National Weather Service is calling for the introduction of a warning system for severe thunderstorms. Cellphone alerts would be accompanied by a high-pitched tone for storms with winds of at least 80 mph or baseball-size hail, while alerts without the high-pitched tone would be sent for lower-intensity severe storms.
A new Illinois law allows for driving privileges to be suspended or rescinded for people who are using an electronic device at the time of a crash resulting in injuries. The law, which took effect Wednesday, raises the fine for such violations to $1,000 or higher, compared with $75 previously.
An executive order issued by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee offers coronavirus-related liability safeguards for health care providers. The protections apply to health care services "that are not considered gross negligence or willful misconduct," while such protections for businesses would require state lawmakers' approval, Lee said.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Council of Insurance Legislators have provided "clear and well-reasoned guidance" against legislative efforts to force retroactive coverage of coronavirus-related business interruption claims, writes Howard Mills, former New York state superintendent of insurance. Such efforts would "devastate industry surplus," threaten insurers' financial stability, cause additional harm to the economy and make BI coverage unaffordable, Mills writes.
Lawsuits over coronavirus-related business interruption claims are ongoing, with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners saying pandemics run afoul of insurance's central tenet of risk pooling, because losses affect nearly all policyholders at once. Amid the litigation, the Future of American Insurance and Reinsurance initiative is an industry effort to highlight property casualty insurers' overall claims payouts and contributions to communities, and it describes pandemics as being fundamentally uninsurable.
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