Businesses that Violate COVID Mitigation Orders Risk Loss of Insurance Coverage
HARRISBURG (MAY 11 2020) – Businesses which violate the state's COVID-19 mitigation orders, by opening when they should not, by conducting in-person sales in violation of the orders, or otherwise skirt the emergency regulations put into place to slow the spread of the disease, could face the denial of insurance coverage for any claims during the period they were operating in violation, even if those claims are unrelated to the business practices. This Could include property damage claims from a fire, for example.
That is the message today from Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman, who reminded businesses of the importance of complying with Governor Tom Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Rachel Levine’s orders – for counties in both the red and yellow phases.
In addition to the critical public health objectives, Commissioner Altman warned non-compliant businesses defying the governor and secretary’s business closure orders that many insurance policies contain provisions that exclude coverage for businesses or individuals engaging in illegal acts or conduct. These exclusions may apply to property coverage, liability coverage, advertising injury coverage, and a host of other essential coverages.
“Businesses and residents rely on insurance coverage to protect them from liability, pay for covered losses, and compensate those who may be injured or harmed,” said Altman. “It is the duty of every business and resident in Pennsylvania to ensure that they and the public at large are provided with the maximum level of protection afforded by insurance. Any actions that could potentially create coverage gaps are the antitheses of the civil duty required of all residents during these times of emergency.”
Find more information on Gov. Wolf’s latest orders here.
FAQs for businesses in each phase can be found here.