The House Financial Services Committee this week called for the passage of a Pandemic Risk Insurance Act (PRIA) to provide a federal backstop for prospective insurance claims related to a pandemic or epidemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created awareness of the need for pandemic insurance for businesses, such as when an association meeting, conference or trade show is cancelled as a result of a pandemic threat. This is one of ASAE’s key asks of Congress to combat the loss of future meetings revenue and PRIA has also been endorsed by the National Retail Federation.

Meetings revenue accounts for roughly 35 percent on average of associations’ total annual revenue, according to PCMA’s most recent Meetings Market Survey. ASAE has been pointing out to Congress that many associations are experiencing severe financial hardship as a result of forced event cancellations related to COVID-19.

PRIA would borrow from the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA), enacted in 2002 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S. TRIA provides a federal backstop for insurance claims related to acts of terrorism. ASAE advocated for passage of that bill at the time as well.

“The circumstances we are facing are unprecedented and will require creative approaches,” said Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA). “America’s consumers, small businesses and vulnerable populations are suffering. It is time for a policy and fiscal response to address their needs.”

PRIA was not included in the economic relief package the House is voting on tomorrow but ASAE will push for its inclusion in the next phase of COVID-19 legislation that House and Senate leaders have said will be needed to ensure the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic.