Dispute Prevention in the Time of COVID-19: Exploring a Global Solution to Insurance for COVID-19

A Joint Presentation by the CPR Environmental and Insurance Committees

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 at 12:00pm



Please join the CPR Institute for a webinar entitled, Dispute Prevention in the Time of COVID-19: Exploring a Global Solution to Insurance for COVID-19, jointly presented by the CPR Institute’s Insurance and Environmental Committees. 

The panelists will examine the effects of the coronavirus pandemic as it relates to  insurance from the policyholder and carrier perspectives and will explore how all stakeholders can work together to reach a global resolution to disparate problems. This webinar will also be a platform for dialogue between insurers and their corporate policyholders to explore the development of a proposal to partner with the government.

Speakers include:

John Bickerman I Arbitrator & Mediator, Bickerman Dispute Resolution I Co-Chair of the CPR Environmental Committee I Member of CPR’s Panel of Distinguished Neutrals

Laura Foggan I Partner I  Crowell & Moring

Cristen Rose I Principal I Paley Rothman

Robert Shulman I Principal I Paley Rothman


To register, email Richard Murphy at rmurphy@cpradr.org

CPR Members only


The conflict between insurance Insurance coverage for damages stemming from  Covid-19 is controversial.  The insurance industry will likely argue that the pandemics generally and coronavirus specifically are not insurable. The insurance industry, in effect, suggests that pandemics are so unforeseeable that they are not subject to customary rules governing actuarial modeling.  Hence,  pandemics such as coronavirus  could never have been underwritten as a risk. Therefore, coverage is unavailable. 


Policyholders reject this line of defense, arguing instead that one must look at the specific facts surrounding a pandemic, the policy’s insuring agreement,  exclusions and exceptions, if any. Policyholders say that sweeping generalizations are not a substitute for general principles of insurance that are applied on an individualized basis between contracting parties.

 In light of distance in those perspective widespread, protracted  litigation in different jurisdictions seems inevitable  Inconsistent rulings and disparate results will be a natural by-product.

The effects of coronavirus impacts every conceivable stakeholder on both sides of the spectrum.  The sheer magnitude of this dispute may need to be addressed as a more global policy question to better determine  who bears the risk and on what basis — carriers or their policyholders.   Maybe that’s a false choice.  Since the virus could potentially bankrupt segments  of either group and take years to resolve, shouldn’t the cost of the consequences of the pandemic be a shared risk allocated among carriers, policyholders and society as a whole qua government?  CPR wants to take this webinar as a stepping stone to initiate a dialogue between insurers and their corporate policyholders with the goal of developing a proposal that could be implemented in partnership with government.