NYS Council Advocacy re: COVID-19

March 24, 2020

NYS Council members,

As we mentioned on the call we hosted for all members this morning, we have been working around the clock to compel state leaders to ensure you are quickly and fairly compensated for lost revenues due to the COVID-19 epidemic. One of the areas where we have focused our efforts is on the Business Interruption section of your property and casualty policy that is likely to limit reimbursable losses to physical damages to your property.

Last night we sent the letter (below) along with the 3 documents (below and linked) to state agency leads, and this morning we sent our letter to the Governor’s Office for review and action.  It was sent to DOB as well.

Please let us know if you have recently submitted a claim for lost revenues under your property and casualty policy and you were denied reimbursement for the same due to the exceptions in the Business Interruption provisions of your policy.




March 23, 2020

Good evening,

We know that you have been working incredibly hard around the clock to provide guidance to the field, and to advocate for the needs of the individuals we serve and the agencies that work with them.  We want to thank you and all of your staff for your stellar performance to this point. 

As you might imagine we are concerned about the provider organizations now contacting us on a daily basis who anticipate an imminent financial crisis due to loss of revenues associated with the coronavirus crisis.  Some of these agencies have begun receiving seemingly bad news from their property and casualty insurers or their brokers when they inquire as to the Business Interruption portion of their policy.  And although we have not yet had a report from a member agency saying that they filed a claim seeking reimbursement for lost revenues and the claim was denied, based on their conversations with brokers along with the information they are receiving by mail, we anticipate a significant problem securing reimbursement for the losses being sustained by mental health and substance use disorder agencies across the state.  

Last week we reached out to a Deputy Superintendent at DFS who is point on these issues and we were told the following:   

“Business Interruption claims are determined by the policy language and the facts of the claim.  DFS has provided FAQs on our website for consumers that provide general guidance that may help.”  While predictable the response from DFS does not bode well for our agencies.

Today we respectfully request that you join us in elevating this very important matter with your colleagues in the Governor’s Office, and that you consider requesting the Governor issue an Executive Order that nullifies the part of the contract language that says only claims related to direct physical damage will be covered.  This could allow COVID-19 to be a covered cause of loss.  

We know the state is working on obtaining significant relief from the federal government that will further increase regulatory flexibility and hopefully mitigate provider losses but we feel additional action needs to be taken to preserve access to and continuity of care for the individuals we serve.  

We understand that both of our requests (Executive Order, Emergency Fund) are a heavy lift and we ‘get’ what a powerful lobby the insurers are but it would be in the state’s best interest to press insurers to do their part as New York struggles to identify and deliver assistance to essential service providers.  

For your information I’ve attached three documents.  The first two pdf’s include information received from their insurer when several of our member agencies inquired as to their coverage.  The third pdf is a copy of a letter DFS sent to health plans that could indicate they are actively considering this issue – we just don’t know.  Finally, here is a link to a National Law Review article discussing actions being contemplated by state regulators across the country on this matter:  https://www.natlawreview.com/article/state-governments-contemplate-action-business-interruption-coverage-covid-19

Could we talk about this at your earliest convenience?

Many thanks in advance.