Every industry has been impacted by COVID-19. In just a few months, the coronavirus has dismantled normal day-to-day activities for people worldwide, disrupted the global economy and resulted in many lives lost.
In the United States, which still leads in the number of confirmed cases by country, residents have mostly complied with the temporary new way of life. But the impact on the overall U.S. economy has been profound and virtually all industries have suffered as a result. To mitigate long-term effects and provide aid, a bipartisan effort led to the passage and signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy Security (CARES) Act. The package includes an extra $600 a week for workers receiving unemployment for four months, a boost for the health care system and direct checks to Americans.
Around the insurance industry, the following leaders and groups issued statements regarding the CARES Act:
Charles M. Chamness, president and CEO of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies: “Today, Congress and the White House have approved historic legislation to address the challenges of COVID-19 and provide much-needed relief for American businesses and employees. NAMIC and others in the insurance industry continue working with Congress, policyholders, state insurance regulators, and lawmakers at every level of government to be a part of the solution to this problem.”
Bob Rusbuldt, president and CEO at the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America: “The Big ‘I’ would like to thank President Trump and his administration for working around the clock to bring much-needed relief to individuals and businesses across the country. We would especially like to thank Treasury Secretary Mnuchin for his bipartisan work with Leaders McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Schumer (D-New York) in the Senate and Speaker Pelosi (D-California) and Leader McCarthy (R-California) in the House. His tireless efforts over the last week made the vital CARES Act a reality. In these uncertain times, this remarkable effort has made possible significant funding to keep Americans healthy while also providing small businesses with immediate tax relief and much-needed access to capital. The Big ‘I’ remains committed to working with the Trump Administration, Congress, our colleagues in the insurance market and other stakeholders to respond to the pandemic. As the nation continues to face the ongoing health and economic concerns caused by COVID-19, we will continue to help identify and implement solutions to overcome this challenge together.”
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents executive vice president and CEO Mike Becker: “PIA National is pleased the U.S. House approved the $2 trillion emergency relief package, which is intended to provide urgently needed aid to several sectors of the economy. Both chambers moved relatively quickly on this legislation, a necessity during this difficult time for businesses.”
Industry groups look to next steps
While the CARES Act is critical to the country’s recovery during these trying times, many in the insurance industry believe more needs to be done — especially as the industry’s solvency and financial standing will be key for both insureds and the economy.
The American Property Casualty Insurance Association, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents, the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association and others issued a group statement calling for the creation of a COVID-19 Business and Employees Continuity and Recovery Fund. Patterned after a federal assistance fund to help recovery after 9/11, the COVID-19 fund would provide assistance directly to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and their employees.
In a letter to President Donald Trump and congressional leaders, the groups stated the following:
“The COVID-19 Business and Employee Continuity and Recovery Fund (“Recovery Fund”) would be funded by the federal government and under the authority of a special federal administrator with the ability to enter into contracts with interested businesses to administer the Recovery Fund and facilitate the distribution of federal funds and liquidity to impacted businesses and their employees. The requested relief would be designed to help businesses retain and rehire employees, maintain worker benefits, and meet operating expense obligations. Strong anti-abuse provisions, including audits and Special Inspector General oversight, would be included.
We urge the Administration and Congress to continue to think broadly and holistically to address the catastrophic emergency that has caused these unprecedented economic challenges. We believe the establishment of the Recovery Fund is necessary to supplement the efforts to expand lending in the CARES Act. Businesses across the United States are looking to you to restore confidence in our economy, support employee retention, and position businesses to survive this crisis and rebound once it ends. We stand ready to work with the Administration and Congress in implementation.”
For more coronavirus coverage, visit our Instant Insights page, “The coronavirus and its impact.”