Joshua M. Bowman quoted in Wicked Local Somerville on business interruption insurance bill

May 5, 2020

Joshua M. Bowman, partner in the firm’s Real Estate and Corporate departments and chair of its Hospitality Practice Group, was quoted in Wicked Local Somerville on April 9, 2020. The article, “Somerville restaurant owner wants support for business interruption insurance bill,” speaks with Andy Husbands, who owns restaurants in Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston, on his and fellow restaurant owners’ call to pass SD.2888 – a bill that would require insurance companies to pay for those business interruption claims for restaurants with fewer than 150 employees. The bill was drafted by Josh and filed by and Sen. James Eldridge (D – Middlesex and Worcester).

Read the full article here.

From the article:

“After speaking with some restaurant clients in mid-March, Bowman learned about a bill filed in New Jersey to use insurance companies as a conduit for stimulus money. Using that bill as a starting point, Bowman worked with Eldridge and fellow law colleagues to write the Massachusetts bill which Eldridge filed on March 24.

‘It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they put their minds to it,’ said Bowman. ‘We have an incredible democracy in Massachusetts with incredible legislators who are all looking for good ideas on how to help people through this crisis.’

The bill includes an emergency preamble, which emphasizes the urgency of passing it as an emergency law to preserve ‘public safety, health, and convenience.’

‘The hotel industry has lost three million jobs since this started and is projected to lose a lot more than that,’ he said. ‘A lot of state lawmakers were waiting to see what the federal government was going to do, but the $2 trillion stimulus CARES Act does almost nothing to help restaurants and hotels.’

Bowman detailed how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) effectively shuts out these businesses. In order to apply for a PPP loan, a business has to commit to retaining at least 90% of its workforce, which Bowman said is near impossible for host restaurants and hotels. Businesses that retain the workforce and pay at least 75% of wages will have the loan forgiven and essentially turned into a grant, but anyone unable to do that will have to pay back the loan in two years. While law firms, accounting firms, and architectural firms get a grant, he said, restaurants will just get more debt.”