OPIC understands this is a difficult time for Texans. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic raises several insurance questions for small business owners. We hope that the following information will help with some of those questions.
The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) has encouraged commercial insurers to work with businesses during the pandemic. In particular, TDI asked insurers to work with businesses that have premiums based on payroll, sales, or similar auditable exposures to help them and adjust premium payments as appropriate.
Most small business owners purchase business owner policies (BOPs) that generally contain property damage, liability, and business interruption coverages. As with all insurance policies, it is important to read your policy and contact your company, agent, or anyone with expertise in this area to ask questions about what is included in your policy. Once you file a claim, the insurance company must investigate your claim before they accept or deny it. If you file a claim that is denied by your insurance company and you feel the denial is unfair, file a complaint with TDI.
As Texas opens for business, you should read your policy and reach out to your insurance company or agent to help you review it. It’s a good time to find out what kinds of coverage you have, how they function, and if you have the right coverage for the risks associated with your business.
During this time, as your business changes and adapts, you may have different exposures for yourself, your customers, and your employees. Talk to your insurer about:
- Liability coverage. There can be different kinds of liability coverage. Liability covers things like customer accidents or injuries, defective products, errors in service, and libel or slander; and
- Workers’ compensation coverage. If a worker is injured on the job or falls ill as a result of a job, workers’ compensation coverage can pay for medical treatment, lost wages, and other benefits.
For more about COVID-19 and insurance-related information at:
Funding and Loans
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small business suffering substantial economic injury due to COVID-19. To learn more about these Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), visit the SBA’s website.
On April 13th, Governor Abbott announced that Goldman Sachs and the LiftFund, along with other community development institutions (CDFIs), are partnering to give $50 million in loans to Texas small business that have been affected by COVID-19. To learn more, read Governor Abbott’s press release.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress on March 27, 2020. This act had several small business provisions for EIDL loan advances, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and Small Business Debt Relief Program. Visit the SBA’s website for more information. Additionally, you can download the U.S. Department of Treasury’s PPP information sheet.
On December 7th, Governor Abbott and the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) launched a COVID-19 Rapid Testing Pilot Program for front line workers at small businesses. This program will help small businesses conduct rapid tests on employees, to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
TDEM will provide local Chamber of Commerce organizations with testing supplies to allocate to small businesses that choose to participate in the program. The pilot program will start with the following six organizations, with plans to expand the program across the state:
- Amarillo Chamber of Commerce
- Amarillo Economic Development Corporation
- Edinburg Chamber of Commerce
- El Paso Chamber of Commerce
- Laredo Chamber of Commerce
- Lubbock Chamber of Commerce
If you’re interested in participating in the program, contact your local Chamber of Commerce organization.
- The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) offers information and advice for employers facing layoffs or interacting with employees during a crisis. Visit their website for more resources.
- Sign up for COVID-19 related email updates from the Governor’s Office and TWC. Also, tune into the Governor’s YouTube channel for the latest Small Business Webinar.
- Call TWC’s Tele-Center 7am-7pm weekly at 800-939-6631, for questions or information about unemployment.
- Visit the US Government’s benefits information website to learn about federal help during the pandemic.
- If you belong to a trade association, contact them. They also may be able to help.
- Make sure your workplace is safe for you and your employees. Download the Occupational Safety and Health Administrations (OSHA)’s pamphlet with tips for preparing your workplace for COVID-19.
- Follow the CDC’s guidance for businesses and employers responding to COVID-19. Visit their website to learn more.