By Ann Gergen, Executive Director
In addition to coverage- and claims-specific questions we are addressing directly with members and through our COVID-19 Resource Center, we’re also following three emerging conversations:
1. Liability Limitations
Recent liability limitations have thus far been centered on health care professionals in a declared public health emergency.
For example, the federal-level CARES Act provides liability protection for volunteer health care providers in the United States. New York State has also implemented liability protections for volunteer and paid health care professionals, including emergency service providers, for issues resulting from treating individuals with COVID-19.
Looking ahead, there could be an opening for discussion about similar protections for local public entities. At least two states are preliminarily evaluating legislative initiatives similar to New York’s that may apply to local public entities providing (or failing to provide) services during state-declared health emergencies.
Broader public entity liability limitations would be an important development for pools and their members. It might be worth supporting advocacy efforts to ensure public entities are included in liability protections. If your state is considering liability limitations for public entities, let us know.
2. Federal Backstops
In the U.S., there is a funding and structural proposal for industry-wide private business interruption losses: the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act. There is also ongoing debate over a fourth COVID-19 relief bill and whether it should include funding resources for local and state government agencies.
These conversations are about whether and to what degree federal funding might provide relief to the private sector, public entities, insureds and insurers. Public entity pools sit at the intersection of the latter three of these four interests. Pools will therefore want to keep monitoring federal actions for applicability to their own circumstances.
3. New Service and Product Proposals
Crisis spurs innovation. In just the last week, AGRiP has been approached with five new product ideas designed to address a COVID-19 issue or risk. Service providers are asking whether pools could serve as a distribution or funding method for outreach to public entities. They’re also asking whether certain products might be useful to pools themselves.
It’s typical for AGRiP to review pooling services or products, but the number and focus of requests this week has been notable. If we’re getting this outreach, our member pools are too (or will be soon). You might want to think about whether and how you’ll respond to inquiries and review new products and services. You might also consider how your staff team should respond to such requests.
Feel free to let us know if you hear about new products and services of value to the pooling community. You can also check with us about whether we’ve heard of a new product or service you’re considering for your pool and its members.
Ann Gergen is AGRiP’s executive director and a former pool administrator. She has worked closely with and for pools, public entities, reinsurers and related service providers throughout her career.
Each week, Ann will offer insight into COVID-19 issues AGRiP members are experiencing and related trends to monitor. For more, access the full series of COVID-19 perspective posts.
Access AGRiP’s COVID-19 Resource Center for coronavirus information, links and news relevant to pools. Email us with questions or comments, or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.