On June 29, in a development that may fundamentally change the landscape for California businesses which have sustained COVID-19 related business interruption loss, two California legislators amended pending legislation to address several of the most hotly contested issues regarding insurance recovery for these devastating losses.
The bill, Assembly Bill 1552, focuses on All-Risk property insurance policies. As amended, it would create a “rebuttable presumption” that COVID-19 was present on and caused physical damage to property which was the direct cause of business interruption. A similar rebuttable presumption would apply to orders of civil authority coverage and to ingress/egress coverage. The bill would further prohibit COVID-19 from being construed as a pollutant or contaminant for purposes of any policy exclusion unless the exclusion specifically referred to viruses. The bill would apply to any All-Risk policy in effect on or after March 4, 2020 and is written to satisfy the standards for an “urgency” statute, taking effect immediately upon being signed into law.
Reprinted courtesy of Scott P. DeVries , Hunton Andrews Kurth and Andrea DeField, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. DeVries may be contacted at sdevries@HuntonAK.com
Ms. DeField may be contacted at adefield@HuntonAK.com