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California orders insurers to provide COVID-19 data


Insurers doing business in California have until April 9 to submit data regarding business interruption coverage provided under their existing commercial insurance policies related to COVID-19 under an order issued Thursday by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

The order requires insurers to provide the California Department of Insurance with data on the volume of business interruption coverage, civil authority coverage, contingent business interruption coverage, and supply chain coverage they wrote that had not lapsed as of March 26.

The CDI asks admitted and non-admitted insurers to detail the policy types and numbers of policies written for each coverage, as well as how many policies were issued to large and small businesses, including those with fewer than 100 employees.

“In order to understand the number and scope of business interruption type coverages in effect, and the approximate number of policies that exclude viruses such as COVID-19, the California Department of Insurance is issuing an urgent data survey of insurers related to their commercial business interruption policies,” Commissioner Lara said in the notice to insurers.

The data will help state policymakers understand “the scope of insured and uninsured losses to businesses,” the CDI said in a statement.

“Although many small businesses maintain commercial multi-peril insurance policies with business interruption coverage, they will have large uninsured losses. We are currently working with the insurance industry and business groups to find creative solutions during this unprecedented crisis,” Commissioner Lara said in the statement.

The data call comes as a growing number of states look to force insurers to cover business interruption losses due to COVID-19.

Napa Valley restaurant The French Laundry on Wednesday became the latest business to seek a ruling that its business interruption policy covers coronavirus-related losses.

In a suit filed in state court in Napa, California, the Yountville restaurant, its sister restaurant Bouchon Bistro, and its chef and owner Tom Keller argue that coronavirus contamination constitutes physical damage under its policy with units of Hartford Financial Services Inc.

More insurance and risk management news on the coronavirus crisis here