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Ohio Legislature to Consider “Business Interruption” Bill

A bill has been introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives to require insurance companies to cover businesses suffering losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill would provide coverage for small businesses forced to shut down or cut back operations due to the state of emergency declared on March 9th by Governor DeWine.

If enacted into law, the emergency measure would provide coverage to Ohio businesses with 100 or less employees who work not less than 25 hours per week. To qualify, a business must have an insurance policy “insuring against loss or damage to property, [including] the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption.” The policy must be in force on the effective date of the bill’s passage, and policies issued after the bill’s passage would not be subject to this legislation. Coverage would exist to the limits of the policy “for any loss of business or business interruption for the duration of the state of emergency.”

Many property damage insurance policies include business interruption coverage, but require the business premises to sustain damage, such as by fire or a tornado, to trigger coverage for the interruption of business operations. If the bill as proposed is enacted by the Ohio General Assembly, insurance companies are expected to mount a legal challenge to its constitutionality, under both the federal and state constitutions.

To view House Bill 589 as introduced, see https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA133-HB-589.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail.

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