|Name||D James C. Ramos|
Existing law creates the Department of Insurance, headed by the Insurance Commissioner, and generally regulates the business of insurance in the state. Existing law authorizes the issuance of insurance, which may cover, among other things, business interruption. Other existing law, the California Emergency Services Act, authorizes the Governor to declare a state of emergency during conditions of disaster or extreme peril to persons or property, including epidemics. Pursuant to this authority, on March 4, 2020, the Governor declared a state of emergency relating to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This bill, with respect to a policy of insurance that provides coverage for business interruption, would create specified rebuttable presumptions affecting the burden of proof in a case in which the insured alleges that the business interruption was due to the COVID-19 pandemic and occurred during the period of the state of emergency declared by the Governor due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the bill would create certain rebuttable presumptions that COVID-19 was present on specified property and caused physical loss or damage to that property which was the direct cause of the business interruption. Among other things, the bill would provide that with respect to coverage for business interruption due to an order of civil authority, a rebuttable presumption applies that COVID-19 was present on property located within the geographical location covered by the order of civil authority and caused physical loss or damage to that property which was the direct cause of the insured's business. The bill would define "civil authority" for these purposes to include any federal, state, or local government, or the governing body or duly constituted agencies of any federally recognized Indian tribe, and their instrumentalities, divisions, political subdivisions, enterprise boards, and business entities. The bill would prohibit COVID-19 from being construed as a pollutant or contaminant for purposes of any exclusion within an insurance policy unless viruses are expressly included in that exclusion policy language. The bill would provide that it applies retroactively to all insurance policies that provide coverage for business interruption that were in full force and effect on and after March 4, 2020. This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Referred to Com. on INS.
From printer. May be heard in committee March 19.
Read first time. To print.
No votes recorded on AB 743.