Slow-moving pandemic continues to complicate 2020
The first half of 2020 has been anything but quiet. After the covid-19 pandemic turned the global economy on its head, the atmosphere showed it is immune to stay at home orders. Multiple derechos dotted an otherwise quiet severe storm season. Three named tropical storms formed in the Atlantic by the end of the first week of hurricane season with many more storms predicted. After the death of George Floyd in late spring, unrest spread across the US in the form of protests and rioting throughout metro and rural communities alike. As the slow-moving pandemic continues to complicate everything in the background, let’s examine what has been recorded so far in 2020.
The pandemic of Covid-19 has affected everyone globally, individuals and industries alike. This crisis is ongoing, and the timing of a vaccine remains quite uncertain. The first wave of the pandemic took hold early in 2020 and in June it is still not thought to have peaked, with concerns of additional waves in the fall. To avoid spreading the disease, most retailers closed their doors during an extended period of stay-at-home policies, as ordered by their local governments. Contract language remains in the spotlight as insureds look to stem economic losses via business interruption claims.
In wake of the death of George Floyd on May 25th in South Minneapolis came a period of protests surrounding police brutality and the racial issues present in the American justice system. While the protests were and continue to be mainly peaceful, rioting broke out across the country. These riots resulted in enough damage to warrant PCS tracking.
Losses from the Riots are currently being estimated for both property damage and business interruption. In many metros, the incident echoes the riots of 1992, where the losses totaled to $1.42B in today’s dollars. However, with many retailers already facing business interruption losses from the pandemic, insurers now must consider the added riot losses on top. The riots came at a time where some cities were beginning to tentatively reopen businesses that were closed for the pandemic The complexity of business interruption in the face of simultaneous pandemic driven business closures and civil unrest is going to cause difficulty in claims processing as to which situation was the root cause of business interruption.