Oceanside CA— As many businesses have been justifiably anxious about how to keep their businesses afloat during this time of COVID-19, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce along with over 80 chambers of commerce and business associations across the nation created the Save Small Business Coalition (SSBC) to address exactly that concern. Businesses need cash now, period. The coalition, spanning 15 states, wants to empower a solution for both small businesses and the insurance industry, backed by the federal government.
In the past few weeks, communities across the nation have seen their local businesses make the difficult decision to reduce hours, lay off employees, and sadly, in some cases, close their doors for good. Many businesses do not qualify for disaster loan programs and some cannot afford to incur additional debt. There is nothing in any business’s insurance that covers this unprecedented event of the Civil Authority of closing of businesses. Trying to reform the policy contracts after-the-fact will likely end up in protracted legal battles and debate while businesses fail and the families they employ suffer irreparable harm. The SSBC believes that with a federally funded backstop to cover the business continuity expenses through defined grants to business owners impacted, insurance carriers and agents could potentially act as a distribution center for funds and likely help define the terms of the grants based on their experience as claims payors and policy writers. The coalition advocates that Government funding be provided to the insurance carriers for a streamlined process without adversely impacting the overall insurance safety net.
A member of the California State Assembly, Adrin Nazarian, supports the coalition’s efforts in California, stating that “Small business is the backbone of our economy and it is vital to rebuilding that economy once we defeat the COVID-19 virus. However it is imperative that the insurance industry recognize the ‘business continuity’ claims of small business if this essential part of our economy is to survive.”
In addition to engaging the government, SSBC is seeking the collaborative support of not only Chamber of Commerce members across the country but many of the largest insurance industry associations representing carriers, agents and brokers including but not limited to: the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies; The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers; The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America; and the American Property and Casualty Insurance Association. The faster all of these organizations can collaborate and work together to find a federally funded solution for small business continuity that can be dispersed immediately to small businesses, the quicker the vital heartbeat of the American economy can be saved.