NCTA, NAB Others Say Pandemic Risk Insurance Is Crucial

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Architect of the Capitol)

Broadcasters, cable operators, and content producers are telling Congress that legislation that would put the government's financial muscle behind pandemic risk insurance is key to ramping up TV and movie production.

In a letter to the leadership and ranking members of the House Financial Services Committee and Insurance Subcommittee obtained by Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, a coalition of stakeholders said, "In light of the severe economic and employment headwinds we face, it is critical for the House Financial Services Committee to examine the nation-wide business insurance crisis that has impacted all aspects of our economy including film, television and sports productions."

They were preaching to the choir and knew it, saying they were pleased the committee was holding a hearing Nov. 19 on “Insuring Against a Pandemic: Challenges and Solutions for Policyholders and Insurers."

They said the hearing was an important step, and pressed legislators to pass "bi-partisan legislation that creates a public private insurance solution in which the government shares the financial risk of losses related to pandemics so that we in the film, tv, and sports industries can return to production."

The groups gave a shout-out to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) for her Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020, which would create that "shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses," calling it a "positive step."

Among those signing on to the letter were NCTA, NASCAR, the NFL, NAB, SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America.

They told the legislators their membership represents hundreds of thousands of small businesses paying $200 billion in wages and providing 2.5 million job in the TV, streaming and film industries. "The restart of our industries in the U.S. cannot begin on a widespread basis without protection against the ongoing pandemic risks," they told committee leadership.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.