June 9th, 2020- In response to those who took advantage of widespread peaceful protests to loot, vandalize and damage businesses across Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker today called on insurance companies to expedite claims and payments for Illinois business owners who have experienced property damage. This call for urgency along with additional best practices are outlined in a Company Bulletin issued today by the Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI), urging insurance companies to uphold their obligations in our work to recover.
“It is my expectation and the expectation of the Illinois Department of Insurance that insurance companies will do everything in their power to give their customers the resources they need to rebuild and get back on their feet as soon as possible. Help can’t wait,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “To that end, my administration has been in consultation with major insurance companies on the quick and robust support they should provide Illinois business owners who have experienced property damage, including but not limited to riots, vandalism, and looting.”
Damage to businesses follows dramatic declines in revenue for businesses across the state as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the state works with businesses to recover, the governor’s office and IDOI have made expectations clear to insurance companies. IDOI issued a Company Bulletin requesting that insurers take specific measures to help businesses rebuild, including guidance that:
- Insurers should apply claims best practices consistent with the categorization of this event as a catastrophic event. Included in this expectation is expedited claims handling, advance claim payments, and fair treatment of all policyholders, regardless of size.
- Insurers should implement a moratorium on the cancellation or non-renewal of impacted policyholders for a period of 60 days from the date of this Company Bulletin.
- Insurers should err on the side of the policyholder when paying claims as a result of riots, civil commotion, or vandalism from commercial policyholders who were unable to make full premium payments during the period following the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-10, dated March 20, 2020.
View the bulletin here: https://insurance.illinois.gov/CB/CompanyBulletins.html.
“Our neighborhood businesses and the people they employ are at the core of our city’s economic strength, which is why we are urging insurers to step up and make sure that businesses have the funds they need–and that they have paid for with premiums over the years– in order to rebuild,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “I applaud Governor Pritzker for committing to protections for policyholders to cut red tape and distribute funds as quickly as possible to our neighborhood businesses.”
“Our Department is ready to support business owners during this difficult time,” said Illinois Department of Insurance Director Robert Muriel. “We have experienced insurance analysts who can answer questions, and if necessary, help business owners file complaints. We’re all in this together, and we work hard to help build the bridge between the consumers we serve and the insurance companies that we regulate.”
As businesses impacted by vandalism and looting assess damages, owners should review their insurance policies for specific terms and conditions of coverage. Most policies provide coverage for vandalism and looting. Business owners should file claims with their insurance companies, and if they believe the insurance company is not honoring the policy, they should submit a complaint on the Illinois Department of Insurance website.