The U.S. Travel Association said that legislation to provide
compensation for business-interruption losses would be critical to helping the
travel industry weather future pandemics.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill that would
create the Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program, a system of shared public
and private compensation for business-interruption losses resulting from future
pandemics or public health emergencies.
Maloney said the bill would both require insurance companies
to offer business-interruption insurance policies that cover pandemics and
ensure that there is sufficient capacity to cover these losses. Like the
Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) introduced after the attacks of 9/11, the
federal government would serve as a backstop to maintain marketplace stability
and to share the burden alongside private industry, Maloney said.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has caused the unprecedented
closure of businesses throughout the U.S., hotel owners and other travel
suppliers are among those that found that their business-interruption policies
do not cover pandemics.
U.S. Travel said that the measure would go a long way in
giving businesses the confidence they need to reopen, which will be vital to a
rapid, robust and sustained economic recovery.
“9/11 exposed the need for terrorism risk insurance, and
since the impact of coronavirus on the travel industry has been nine times that
of 9/11, it is very sensible to offer a similar backstop for pandemics,” said U.S.
Travel executive vice president for public affairs and policy Tori Emerson
Barnes. “The PRIA legislation is a critical step in building the policy
framework to navigate out of the economic crisis that has resulted from the
pandemic and help ensure it never happens again.”