Sen. Frockt bill designed to help restaurants and small businesses

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Restaurants and retail businesses whose insurers are denying claims for losses suffered due to shutdowns to combat the COVID-19 pandemic would receive help if a bill introduced today becomes law.

SB 5351, sponsored by Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) and Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), and cosponsored by Sen. Jesse Salomon (D-Shoreline) would help ensure that businesses unable to operate due to the pandemic response have the chance to collect business interruption insurance payments that are rightfully owed to them after having paid their premiums for this coverage for years.

“Many small businesses, especially restaurants, planned ahead and purchased insurance to protect their businesses against unforeseen disasters,” said Frockt. 
“Courts in our state have ruled recently that insurance companies should not be allowed to deny legitimate claims based on a strained reading of the policy language. This bill codifies that protection and will give small business owners a chance to recover some of their losses.”

To address the circulation of inaccurate information about the scope of business interruption insurance and the impact of filing claims, as well as the continuing effects of the pandemic, the bill also gives policyholders an additional year to challenge the denial of business interruption insurance claims.

“Small businesses play such an important role in the fabric of our society,” said Nobles. “When they hurt, the hearts of our communities hurt. This bill is about ensuring they have a fair process to claim any insurance relief that is their due.”


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