Legal responsibility reforms for employers are essential to states’ financial restoration
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Amid lost lives and ongoing hardship, the pandemic response sparked a wave of unprecedented political polarization that has plagued the country.
But states across the country are finding new reasons for broad bipartisanism in building the foundation for economic recovery.
Indeed, last month, North Dakota became the 43rd state to advance worker safety and employer liability protection, which are key elements in our common development. As public health and safety guidelines changed during the pandemic, companies took the opportunity to adhere to ever-changing government guidelines and implement new measures and precautions to protect customers and employees.
These private sector organizations remain central to the Covid-19 response. Still, thousands of Covid-19-related lawsuits were filed against a wide variety of companies in 2020 and 2021, including airlines, software companies, cruise lines, shopping malls, restaurants, manufacturers, hotels, medical providers, and schools. Without wise policies, these suits posed a serious threat to our fragile economy.
In response, states across the country have advocated bipartisan, innovative ways to instill more trust and control over how businesses and healthcare providers can protect their employees and safely reopen them to their customers and communities. These political efforts have provided much-needed relief to nonprofits, schools, places of worship, and local governments. In addition, many states have taken steps to protect the companies that have taken exceptional measures to design, manufacture, label, sell and distribute personal protective equipment, and to clean and disinfect supplies when we need them most .
As the pace of our reopening accelerates, these new laws provide businesses and community organizations with greater security and clarity about how to follow public health guidelines. And above all, they offer additional protection against the risk of frivolous lawsuits.
Persistent and ingrained litigation abuse adversely affects the ability of businesses to grow and create jobs, as well as the ability of communities to thrive. Employer liability protection passed by numerous states enables companies to resume operations in a way that protects employees and customers. At the same time, these reforms will help reduce the skyrocketing tort cost to every household, estimated to average $ 3,329 a year across the country before the pandemic breaks out.
Members of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association are proud to insure the many private sector organizations and forces that are supporting our nation’s struggle to recover from this unprecedented pandemic. We look forward to continuing to help provide financial security for families, individuals, communities and businesses.
The major legal reforms under way in 43 countries are essential to rebuilding our economies and getting people back to work. Insurers praise state legislators for their leadership role in prioritizing occupational safety and prudent protection of employer liability. We encourage federal legislators to support these efforts and to build on the work of states in a bipartisan manner.
David Sampson is President and CEO of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), the trade association that represents nearly 60% of the US property and casualty insurance market.