Editor’s Note: Here are the latest key updates you may have missed over the past weekend relating to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as of April 20, 2020.
In the U.S.
According to Johns Hopkins University (as of April 20, 2020):
- Total U.S. cases: 760,570
- Total U.S. deaths: 40,724
RIMS issued a letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Congress and President Trump requesting the creation of a pandemic risk insurance program to accelerate economic recovery. In the letter, RIMS asserts that a pandemic risk insurance program would provide greater access to capital from lenders and establish a viable insurance market. It would also provide greater resilience to U.S. organizations in the event of a future pandemic.
Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced the Business Interruption Insurance Coverage Act of 2020, a bipartisan bill to ensure businesses that purchase interruption insurance won’t get their claims denied because of major events, such as the coronavirus pandemic. In response, industry leaders voiced opposition to the bill, with one saying the bill, and others like it, “would apply business interruption coverage where it doesn’t exist, exacerbating existing disruptions and further delaying our nation’s economic recovery.”
Six class-action lawsuits were filed on Friday (April 17) against insurance companies for denial of policy claims businesses had purchased to protect against business interruptions, according to a press release. The plaintiffs are represented by DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC, Lanier Law Firm PC, Burns Bowen Bair LLP, and Daniels & Tredennick. The cases include:
- Gio Pizzeria & Bar Hospitality, LLC and Gio Pizzeria Boca, LLC v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s, London, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- Rising Dough, Inc., et al. v. Society Insurance, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- Bridal Expressions LLC v. Owners Insurance Company, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
- Caribe Restaurant & Nightclub, Inc. v. Topa Insurance Company, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- Dakota Ventures, LLC d/b/a/Kokopelli Grill v. Oregon Mutual Insurance Co.; U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
- Christie Jo Berkseth-Rojas DDS v. Aspen American Insurance Company; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Boston Scientific Corp. will start manufacturing a low-cost ventilator. The technology was recently approved for emergency use by the USDA.
More than 22 million Americans filed for unemployment within the past month — a level of job loss not seen since The Great Depression, says The Washington Post.
President Trump offered state governors a “road map” to reopen economies on Thursday (April 16) that includes three phases.
On Sunday (April 19), demonstrations in cities around the U.S. escalated as protesters demanded the reopening of their local economies, as House Conservatives call for the country to reopen immediately. According to Reuters, around 2,5000 gathered at the Washington state capitol to protest the state’s stay-at-home order. In Denver, health care workers stood in counter-protest against people who gathered at the state capitol demanding the end of the state’s shutdown. Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Utah also saw protests over the weekend.
United Airlines said it expects a $2.1 billion loss in first-quarter 2020 as a result of dramatic declines in travel from the coronavirus.
The CEO of Chubb, Evan Greenberg, told Bloomberg this regarding pressuring insurers to cover business interruption losses: “The insurance industry is a fundamental part of the economic plumbing of this country. Forcing insurers to foot the bill for losses not covered by policies “would do great damage. It would bankrupt the industry.”
Around the world
According to the World Health Organization (as of April 20, 2020):
- Total cases globally: 2.31 million
- Total deaths globally: 157,847
The U.S. (760,570), Spain (195,944), Italy (178,972), Germany (141,672), and the U.K. (120,071) have the most reported coronavirus cases globally.
Catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide launched its COVID-19 Projection Tool that provides COVID-19 case and death projections worldwide for the next four weeks. The data will be updated daily.
The Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. says there are clear cases where insurers should pay claims to small and medium-sized enterprises for business interruption claims stemming from COVID-19.
The European Union has drafted plans for a partial lifting of restrictions and to get people back to work to help alleviate the economic pains brought on by COVID-19-caused shutdowns.
Greece is extending its ban on flights to and from the U.K., the Netherlands, Turkey, Spain and Itlay until May 15.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Allianz SE Chief Executive Officer Oliver Baete said, “The coronavirus has hit our industry like a meteorite impact… There will be huge losses for the industry coming, it just takes a while for those to materialize.”
The last three cruise ships at sea will finally arrive at land today. The MSC Magnifica will dock in the south of France; the Costa Deliziosa will dock in Barcelona, and the Pacific Princess will dock in Los Angeles.
Fitch Ratings downgraded Hong Kong’s long-term economic rating to ‘AA-’ from ‘AA,’ with real GDP falling by 5% in 2020.