NEW YORK — Altium Insurance Services (AIS) is introducing a pandemic insurance product for the hospitality industry, underwritten by a large insurance carrier. Available to hotel franchisors, franchisees, management companies, REITS, and operators of multi-property enterprises, the Hospitality Pandemic Insurance (HPI) addresses the nuances and characteristics of the lodging sector and protects against the loss of revenue experienced when a pandemic strikes.
Together with Belmonte Consulting LLC, Altium Insurance Services collaborated with the underwriter for more than a year to design this product specific to hotels. HPI is being sold by AlS Founder Bill Coluccio, and marketed to hoteliers by Steven Belmonte, CEO of Belmonte Consulting LLC and executive director, hospitality division, Amdel Associates, a New York-based investment banking firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions.
“The devastation of COVID-19 on our industry underscored the importance of managing threats in capital structure planning. This pandemic insurance poses a viable solution to this problem,” Belmonte said. “HPI is innovative. Considering how hard our industry was impacted by COVID-19, it is so important to protect ourselves from this occurring again—and unfortunately, the scientists say it may happen. This insurance protects the revenue stream for a hotel company or franchisee. It is the biggest ‘no-brainer’ you likely will see this year.”
“Bill Coluccio is a long-time industry friend,” Belmonte continued. “His expertise in customized insurance and risk mitigation products spans the professional liability, life, property, casualty, and transaction insurance markets makes him the right guy to pioneer this product. Based on feedback from a very soft launch among industry colleagues, we think we have a real winner. Today, HPI is available to any franchise owner/operator or multi-property hotel company looking for future pandemic protection.”
Here are a few highlights of the Hospitality Pandemic Insurance:
- The indemnity duration of HPI is 180 calendar days.
- HPI pays claims immediately, with no adjuster delays.
- For publicly traded companies, HPI provides a level of protection to shareholders.
- Carrying HPI may provide support for lower borrowing and capital costs.
- HPI provides liquidity and potentially can enhance credit ratings.
- HPI minimizes reputational damage.
“When owners began realizing the impact of the pandemic, they closed their doors and filed business interruption claims with their insurance carriers,” Coluccio said. “Unfortunately, pandemic exclusions in typical business interruption insurance policies make them contractually immune to a loss related to a COVID-19 occurrence, so not a single hotel received a payout. We designed HPI in collaboration with Belmonte Consulting LLC specifically for the needs of those operating a hotel franchise or multi-property enterprise when the next pandemic occurs.”
Hospitality Pandemic Insurance Process
Should a civil or government authority lockdown occur, and the World Health Organization issues a public health emergency of international concern—essentially shutting down travel—or a state or local government issues restrictions on access to a location or business, or a similar denial of customer access situation occurs, or a restriction of airline activity occurs, HPI will pay hoteliers immediately to cover up to 80 percent of revenue that they would receive from any affected property for up to six months. In addition, if a claim is filed by a franchisee/owner, the franchisor would also have its franchise fees, marketing fees, management fees, and more paid from the claim.
“This is straight forward insurance coverage for what counts,” Coluccio said. “The product is completely customizable and features liberal triggers and simple claims processes. Franchisors can leverage HPI for their own protection and offer it to their franchisees, who can either opt in or opt out, whichever is preferable. The premium would be paid by the franchisee and the franchise company can be named as an additional insured, or we can add language to the policy that when any claim payments are made, they are to cover any existing franchise fees that would be owed relating to a claim payment. If there is anything we’ve learned over the last 20 months, it’s that there is no life raft waiting out there. HPI could possibly be the closest thing.”