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South Carolina Joins States Proposing Legislation to Mandate Insurers Pay COVID-19 Losses

On April 8, 2020, a bipartisan group of three South Carolina state senators introduced Senate Bill 1188, which would provide coverage for loss of use/occupancy or business interruption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The text of S.B. 1188 specifically states:

“Every policy of insurance in force in this State insuring against loss or damage to property, notwithstanding the terms of the policy and including any endorsement thereto or exclusions to coverage included therewith, that includes a loss of use and occupancy, or business interruption, shall be construed to include, among the covered perils under the policy, coverage for loss of use and occupancy, or business interruption, directly or indirectly resulting from the global pandemic known as COVID-19.”

The proposed bill would apply to policies issued to policyholders with 150 or fewer full-time equivalent employees in the state.

S.B. 1188 provides that South Carolina insurers cannot deny a claim for a loss of use and occupancy, or business interruption, with respect to COVID-19 for (1) COVID-19 being a virus, even if the relevant insurance policy excludes losses resulting from viruses, (2) there being no physical damage to the property of the insured or to any other relevant property, or (3) orders issued by any civil authority, or acts or decisions of a governmental entity. Further, S.B. 1188 states that an insurer that is required to provide coverage to an insured that has filed a claim may apply to the South Carolina Department of Insurance for relief and reimbursement from funds collected.

© 2020 Wilson ElserNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 114



About this Author

Paul S. White Partner Insurer Litigation: Coverage/Extra-Contractual Insurance & Reinsurance Coverage Professional Liability & Services

Paul White focuses his practice on complex insurance coverage and bad faith litigation and represents defendants in commercial litigation. Paul's insurance coverage practice includes advising and representing insurers in bad faith litigation and insurance policy disputes, including first-party property policies, general liability coverage, errors and omissions insurance, and media liability insurance. He also advises and represents insurers in subrogation actions on property losses. In addition, Paul has litigated and arbitrated disputes throughout the United States involving domestic and...

Siobhán A. Breen Associate New York Directors & Officers Liability Insurance & Reinsurance Coverage

Siobhán A. Breen represents primary and excess professional liability insurers and drafts coverage opinions with respect to complex insurance coverage matters involving directors and officers liability, errors and omissions liability, miscellaneous professional liability, lawyers professional liability, and employment practices liability.

Prior to joining Wilson Elser, Siobhán’s practice consisted of insurance coverage and insurance defense litigation. Siobhán has experience in securities class actions, shareholder derivative actions, cyber/privacy actions, and professional malpractice actions for public and private companies. She also is experienced in civil litigation, acting as defense counsel and plaintiff’s counsel to insurers in coverage dispute actions, personal injury actions, and bad faith actions.