June 15, 2020

COVID-19 Lawsuit Protection

“We’re trying to protect our businesses and let them open.”

— Rep. Thomas Pressly of Shreveport, Louisiana, sponsor of one of four bills passed by the state’s legislature that give protections from most lawsuits for coronavirus deaths and injuries to businesses that never closed during the outbreak and those that are newly reopening. The four bills authored by Republican lawmakers were sent to Gov. Bel Edwards on June 1, but it was uncertain whether he would sign them.

Michigan Auto Insurance Refunds

“Michiganders have been staying safe and staying home and they should see the benefit in reduced auto insurance rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

— Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s thoughts on an order issued by Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services requiring auto insurers to issue refunds or premium waivers to policyholders due to reduced driving brought on by the stay at home orders related to COVID-19. The order set a deadline of June 10 for insurers to submit filings that include the refund or premium waiver amount, information on how that amount was determined and how consumers will receive payments.

Protecting Workers

“Workers servicing or maintaining machines are at risk of serious injury, including amputations, if hazardous energy is not properly controlled.”

— OSHA Marlton Area Office Director Paula Dixon-Roderick said in a U.S. Department of Labor press release announcing that its Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited BWay Corp., doing business as Mauser Packaging Solutions, for workplace safety and health hazards after an employee suffered an amputation on Sept. 26, 2019, at the Lawrence Township, N.J., facility.

Responsible Truth

“Every company has a responsibility to be truthful to consumers. You can’t deceive them, you can’t make misrepresentations.”

— Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has filed a lawsuit against Google alleging the company kept tabs on the whereabouts of its users even if they had turned off location tracking. The suit alleges Google violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act and it seeks to claw back profits from the tracking.

Significant Loss Event

“We expect this to be a significant loss event as the impact is being experienced in large and small markets across the U.S. … However, because it is an ongoing event, it is premature to determine the volume of property loss that will be incurred.”

— Insurance Information Institute spokesman Mark Friedlander comments on the potential impact on property loss resulting from the violent civil unrest that followed peaceful protests mourning the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Destruction and looting that erupted after Floyd’s death was reported in at least 25 cities and some suburbs.

Economic Hit

“There is an economic hit when a hurricane comes through. … Some assets won’t be worth turning back on.”

— With the hurricane season beginning on June 1 and Tropical Storm Cristobal expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico on June 4, William Turner, a vice president at research and consultancy Welligence Energy Analytics, said that for smaller oil and gas producers strained by low prices a bad storm may be the last straw. Restarting offshore production that shut in anticipation of Cristobal’s advance may take longer and prove more costly because of COVID-19, many experts said.

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From This Issue

Insurance Journal West June 15, 2020
June 15, 2020
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Construction Market & Risks Report; Markets: Umbrellas (Personal & Commercial)