A fifth coronavirus-relief bill is likely to be necessary, and such legislation would need to include liability safeguards for doctors and businesses that are reopening, said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. "We cannot have an open economy with an epidemic of lawsuits on the heels of the pandemic that we're working our way through," McConnell said.
A Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers survey found that commercial property casualty insurance rates were up 9.3% on average in the first quarter, compared with 7.5% in the previous quarter. Increases occurred in all major lines except workers' compensation, which saw a drop of 1.2% on average.
Tropical Storm Bertha made landfall in South Carolina this morning after beginning as a disturbance that caused flooding in Miami earlier this week. Bertha, on a projected path through North Carolina and Virginia, is the second named storm to emerge before the Atlantic hurricane season's official start.
The Illinois General Assembly has approved legislation that includes coronavirus-related provisions on workers' compensation benefits for essential workers and death benefits for first responders. The bill, if signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, would establish a rebuttable presumption that essential workers contracted the coronavirus on the job if they become ill with COVID-19.
A government review finds that the US could have as much as $106 billion worth of real estate below sea level by 2050. Due diligence for real estate investments should involve factors related to climate change, including risk mitigation that goes beyond flood insurance, the impact of new building codes and the potential of property value decreases, three attorneys write.
Groups representing state and local governments are pushing Congress to allocate funds for cybersecurity to help them cope with telecommuting and increased cyberattacks. "This surge on our information technology infrastructure requires additional investment in both funding and manpower to keep up with the massive usage," states the letter, from groups including the International City/County Management Association and the National Governors Association.
Homeowners and businesses are pursuing class-action status for litigation against the owners and operators of two mid-Michigan dams that failed last week. Also named as defendants in one of the lawsuits are the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the state's Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, which are responsible for oversight of dams.
"Systemic strain on the insurance industry" would result in a matter of months if carriers are required to retroactively cover coronavirus-related business interruption claims, Insurance Information Institute CEO Sean Kevelighan told a House subcommittee on Thursday. Such a mandate would be unconstitutional and would "imperil the insurance industry's ability to pay covered insurance claims filed by American homeowners, drivers and injured workers," Kevelighan said.
The US Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has tallied 101 federal lawsuits over coronavirus-related business interruption losses as of Wednesday, and plaintiffs lawyers said the total of such cases is likely to reach into the thousands. APCIA has said that mandating retroactive coverage of such claims would threaten the insurance industry's solvency, and it estimates that closure-related costs are $393 billion to $668 billion per month for businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
A measure approved by the Kansas Legislature would provide businesses and health care providers with safeguards against coronavirus-related litigation. Some Democratic lawmakers said Gov. Laura Kelly might veto the legislation, which contains provisions that would limit Kelly's power to coordinate the state's emergency response and order business closures.
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