The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) took the unusual step last week of instructing all property/casualty insurers to provide information on commercial property insurance and details on business interruption coverage in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. The notice is here.
The notice recognizes that policyholders have urgent questions about the business interruption coverage under their policies. Insurers must explain to policyholders the benefits under their policies and the protections provided in connection with COVID-19.
The explanation to policyholders is to include the following relevant information.
What type of commercial property insurance or otherwise related insurance policy does
the insured hold?
Does the insured's policy provide "business interruption" coverage? If so, provide the
"covered perils" under such policy. Please also indicate whether the policy contains a
requirement for "physical damage or loss" and explain whether contamination related
to a pandemic may constitute "physical damage or loss." Please describe what type of
damage or loss is sufficient for coverage under the policy.