NPS requires concessioners to maintain insurance coverage even if operations are closed

Your Government counsel.™

The National Park Service issued an internal memorandum to the field on April 8, 2020 recommending that no concessioners be permitted to cancel or amend their insurance coverage as otherwise required under their concession contract.  The memorandum states “Park managers and concession specialists should not agree to any concessioner requests to waive insurance requirements at this time.”  NPS’ recommendation was based on a concern that premium costs may rise significantly once operations resume, particularly if a policy were cancelled and a new policy was sought.  NPS stated that these potentially higher costs could create difficulties in acquiring new insurance coverage which would limit the ability to restart services.

The memorandum notes that the impacts from COVID-19 are generally not covered by business interruption insurance, but some insurance carriers may lower premiums due to reduced activity and “many states have enacted short-term regulations that prevent insurance carriers from cancelling policies for any reason, including nonpayment of premiums.”  The memorandum provides no guidance as to whether a concessioner’s situation may be sufficiently dire to justify it adjusting its insurance coverage due to the government having indefinitely closed its operations, which are largely the basis for needing the insurance coverage.

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