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Rep. Mike Thompson unveils bill to force commercial insurers to pay coronavirus claims for business losses

U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, introduced federal legislation that would require insurance companies selling business interruption insurance to cover business losses resulting from a pandemic.

Thompson authored the bill after hearing from local restaurateurs who had interruption coverage but whose commercial insurers denied their claims, citing exclusions in their policies for viruses. Napa Valley chef Thomas Keller, a political contributor to Thompson, has sued his insurer for declining his company’s claim for business interruption losses related to the coronavirus pandemic.

If passed and signed into law by President Donald Trump, the legislation would make virus-related interruption claims eligible to be paid and would nullify any exclusion that had been in force. State preemptions also would not be allowed.

“Businesses who have purchased business interruption insurance in good faith and are forced to close their doors because of a major event and through no fault of their own deserve to have their claims honored,” Thompson said in a statement.

Bill Swindell

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