NRF Pushes for Federally Backed Retail Pandemic Insurance
As food and other types of retailers work through the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is calling on the U.S. Congress to get to work preparing business protections for future outbreaks, or a second wave, of the current virus that has all but stopped the world economy.
The U.S. trade group, along with 16 other business groups, on Monday sent a letter to congressional leaders urging support for the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (PRIA), “which would mandate that businesses [that] could demonstrate significant business interruption and sharp decline in present and future revenue would be insured, through a pre-funded risk pool, in case of a pandemic or epidemic.”
According to NRF, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who has a senior spot on the House Finance Services Committee, will soon introduce that bill. A similar bill could come from Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., who serves as chairman of the Housing, Community Development and Insurance Subcommittee.
The PRIA, according to the letter, would enable businesses “to recoup lost revenue when large events are cancelled, thus resulting in substantial losses. The Act would create a federal ‘backstop’ (much like the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act), for insurance claims related to a pandemic or epidemic.” The law would “provide for a federal loss-sharing program for certain insured losses resulting from a certified epidemic/pandemic.”
The NRF said that such a law would make it easier for retailers of all types to “renew leases, invest in real estate, order inventory, plan for capital improvements, and hire or re-hire workers in coming months.”
More broadly, such a law would serve to ease pandemic-related anxieties among retailers, according to David French, the trade group’s SVP for government relations. “A federal program could also provide a mechanism for immediate and predictable economic recovery should the nation face another pandemic – even one of lesser magnitude – in the future,” French said.