Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020, or PRIA, in late May. PRIA and pandemic insurance will be addressed at a subcommittee hearing in mid-to-late July (It was first set for June 26 but postponed). The hope is to pass PRIA by year’s end. But Maloney’s chief of staff Andrew Lowenthal said it needs more support from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress than it currently enjoys.
Part of the issue is focus as legislators juggle multiple crises, from potential mass evictions to a spike in new infections. So Lowenthal, speaking on the Cinetic panel, urged media and entertainment players to turn up the heat. “You have a far more influence with your members of Congress than you realize. Call them!” The broader the nudge the better, he said, “From the NFL to documentary filmmakers.”
After all, major sports leagues, Hollywood studios, TV networks and stadium owners all want pandemic insurance. “Whether it’s a five-person or a 5,000-person production, you can get folks to pay attention. To see this is not a partisan issue, this is not a geographical issue.” Industry trade groups should also speak up, he said.
PRIA creates the Pandemic Risk Reinsurance Program, a shared public-private compensation structure for business interruption losses from COVID-19 and future pandemics. It calls for the insurance industry to fund 5% of payouts with the government shouldering the rest.