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Insurance Companies Seek Blanket Immunity

Published on April 27th, 2020

The insurance companies are now blaming lawyers for the global pandemic.  All of a sudden, corporate interests are coordinating a public relations and marketing scheme to get bailed out, then given immunity for negligence or financial exploitation, and then blame the lawyers for the economy. you can see articles in Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and other corporate publications.  The insurance companies do not want to provide coverage that has been paid for in premiums.  The insurance companies are blaming lawsuits but the lawsuits are only necessary because the insurance companies refuse to comply with the contract for insurance they agreed to and profited from for years.

One of the insurance and corporate arguments is that “litigation” would increase uncertainty for big business and corporations.   But it would increase certainty  and justice for victims of fraud, criminal exploitation, and gouging.  Another argument is that business-interruption coverage should not pay out for the pandemic’s damage, even though those risks should be covered in these policies, and premiums were collected for the exposure.  They state that making them comply with the contract would violate the integrity of contracts set forth in Article I of the Constitution.   If implemented, it would bankrupt the insurance industry to prop up other parts of the economy. Nonsense. Chicken Little arguments.

The government has provided the financial resources to deal with this pandemic with the Fed’s extraordinary lending actions and the $2 trillion aid package passed by Congress. These will be tough times for all businesses. Insurers don’t need but are asking for special treatment.  They are asking Congress to rewrite every insurance contract in the country by arbitrarily granting immunity from any litigation related to the coronavirus virus.  Meanwhile, the insurance companies are saving  billions on casualty claims. Eliminating people’s rights to a legal remedy when they have been injured by the negligent, reckless or intentional acts of others is extremely profitable for the insurance industry. The insurance industry has billions of dollars in reserve to pay claims from all of the premiums collected and its investments. But in times of crisis, the insurance industry lobbies to keep those billions for itself, instead of pay claims.

Most health-care providers and nursing homes have malpractice insurance, and insurers are directing them to establish explicit treatment protocols as a prophylactic. But it’s unclear whether insurers will cover any coronavirus legal claims. Congress already provided liability protection for many health-care providers.  Congress last month legislated liability protection for N95 mask manufacturers that feared lawsuits if health-care workers wearing masks got sick.

Liability immunity, known more commonly as “tort reform” by those of us who have been sold this bill of goods on a statewide basis, has been the goal of the insurance and hospital-chain fat cats for decades, do not let them take advantage of this pandemic to push their agenda.  Most Americans cherish their freedoms and thus all of the Bill of Rights, using this event to further strip patients from their 7th amendment right to a jury trial regarding negligent medical care via a broader Congressional “liability reform” is hypocritical at best and a sweeping disaster to our Constitutional freedoms at worst.

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