Hard-hit restaurants, gyms, and other businesses are battling insurers over the coronavirus, sparking a new Washington lobbying war

Hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake, and some groups have asked Trump to intervene.

A multibillion-dollar standoff between the nation’s leading insurers and the restaurants, hotels, gyms, and theaters that purchase their policies has spilled into some of the most powerful corridors of Washington, as both sides clash over who should foot the sky-high costs of the coronavirus outbreak.

The battle hinges on whether insurance providers should have to pay claims to companies that have shuttered unexpectedly as a result of the deadly pandemic. The dispute has attracted the attention of President Trump, triggered lawsuits in courtrooms nationwide, and touched off a massive lobbying blitz on Capitol Hill, where some insurers say the federal government instead should be the one providing financial help to those that need it most.

The industry’s powerful lobbyists, led by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), say “business interruption” policies never were intended to cover contagions. Even if they had been, the estimated claims just from small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic could total more than $430 billion a month, threatening to create a “solvency event” for the industry, said David A. Sampson, the group’s chief executive.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/22/businesses-insurance-coverage-coronavirus/

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