The legislature did not meet this week, and its next session is scheduled for September 1. Rather than votes, this Roll Call Report describes some recently introduced bills related to insurance during the coronavirus epidemic, including unemployment insurance.
Senate Bill 1024 and House Bill 6030: Authorize coronavirus liability shield for business and facilities Introduced by Rep. Thomas Albert (R) and Sen. Lana Theis (R), respectively, to establish in a new law that a business, facility owner and others are not liable for a claim that arises from exposure of an individual to COVID-19 on the premises unless this was caused by a reckless disregard of a substantial and unnecessary risk that an individual would be exposed, and establish that operations that are in substantial compliance and reasonably consistent with an applicable federal or state statute, regulation, executive order, etc. are not liable for a COVID-19 claim or a claim related to conduct intended to reduce transmission of COVID-19. The bill also bars epidemic-related product liability claims against makers and sellers of disinfecting or cleaning supplies or personal protective equipment.
Senate Bill 1023 and House Bill 6101: Authorize coronavirus liability shield for employers Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R) and Rep. Wendell Byrd (D), respectively, to establish that an employer is not liable for damages from the exposure of an employee to COVID-19 if the employer was “operating in substantial compliance or reasonably consistent” with applicable state and federal guidelines and rules, with some exceptions. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
House Bills 5739 and 5928: Mandate insurers include epidemic-related business interruption insurance even if current policies exclude it Introduced by Rep. Brian Elder and Rep. John Cherry (D) respectively, to retroactively mandate that business-interruption insurance policies already in effect must cover losses caused by the coronavirus epidemic and government-ordered lockdowns. Under House Bill 5928, insurers would nevertheless be restricted from increasing the price of the policies, and must cover virus-related losses even if the policy specifically excludes losses caused by a virus. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 886: Authorize expanded unemployment insurance benefits during epidemic Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R), to suspend for the duration of the coronavirus epidemic emergency various limits and requirements on state unemployment insurance benefits for layoffs related to the epidemic. Among other things, benefits would be payable for up to 26 weeks instead of 20 weeks; benefit payments would not be charged to an employer’s unemployment payroll tax account; workers would not have to seek another job; “work-sharing” plans would be allowed and more. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
Senate Bill 911: Allow “double dipping” for unemployment system retirees who pitch-in during epidemic Introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R), to permit retired employees of the state’s unemployment insurance program bureau to collect both a paycheck and a pension check if they come back to work during the coronavirus epidemic emergency to help process benefit claims by locked-down workers. On the same day the bill was introduced this spring, the U.S. Department of Labor reported more than one million Michigan workers had lost their jobs due to the virus and lockdowns, which is the highest number since when this series of statistics began to be collected. Referred to committee, no further action at this time.
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