March 30, 2020
Dear Congresswoman Bonamici and Senators Merkley and Wyden,
Thank you for your service and the important work you do, especially in difficult times as this. We are writing today to ask for your help to Save Small Business.
As a Chamber of Commerce, we view ourselves as first responders to the Business Community. During times a such as these, we are a reliable source of important information, have connections to important resources and have flexibility and agility to change as the needs of our community change. We are closest in touch with what information and help our businesses need. With the deluge of information everyone is experiencing, we serve as a sieve to disseminate and help effectively target necessary info for our businesses.
Our connections with our members brought to light how many businesses have had to reduce hours, layoff employees, and sadly, in some cases, close their doors for good. Many businesses do not qualify for disaster loan programs and some can’t afford to incur additional debt. As the voice of the business community, we need to take immediate action to assist business community to stay afloat during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
Together, with over 80 chambers of commerce and business associations, we joined the Save Small Business Coalition. The Save Small Business Coalition is committed to the survival of a vibrant business community as businesses across the US are feeling severe economic hardships as government mandates force restrictions and closures on business.
We know as our elected leaders you are aligned with our desire to keep our small business afloat, maintaining their employees, making recovery plans and be at the ready to do business as soon as possible and is allowed.
• This coalition is not about one single industry, this is about all small businesses across the nation.
• Small Businesses need funds right now to stay afloat, period. Getting small businesses, the funds to maintain the continuity of their business in the most expeditious way is of paramount importance. Many are in critical condition or on life support as it is.
• There is nothing in any business’s insurance that covers this unprecedented event of the Civil Authority of closing of businesses. Trying to reform the policy contracts after-the-fact will likely end up in protracted legal battles and debate while businesses fail and the families they employ suffer irreparable harm.
• We want to empower a potential solution for small businesses that works with the insurance industry backed by the federal government.
• We believe that with a federally funded backstop to cover the business continuity expenses through defined grants to business owners impacted, insurance carriers and agents could potentially act as a distribution center for funds and likely help define the terms of the grants based on their experience as claims payors and policy writers.
• We are advocating that Government funding be provided to the insurance carriers for a streamlined process without adversely impacting the overall insurance safety net.
• We are not asking our carriers to break or ignore contracts that are held by businesses with their current coverage. We are asking for extraordinary emergency action by the Government to empower an urgent solution that currently doesn’t exist.
• In addition to engaging you as our elected leaders we are seeking the collaborative support of not only Chamber of Commerce members across the country but many of the largest insurance industry associations representing carriers, agents and brokers including but not limited to: the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, the American Property and Casualty Insurance Association.
• We believe that the faster we can collaborate and work together to find a federally funded solution for small business continuity that can be dispersed immediately to small businesses the better we will be able to save this vital heartbeat of the American economy.
On a regular basis, the Chamber is a constant advocate for business. The work we do together is more important than ever.
We hope you’ll work with us on a solution to help the many businesses and nonprofits negatively affected by this crisis as we push for a Federal solution. Will you join us?
Debi Mollahan, CEO Tigard Chamber
Megan De Salvo, Chair of the Board, Co-Owner, Edge One Media
Tigard Mayor Jason Snider
Tigard City Councilors: John Goodhouse, Tom Anderson, Heidi Lueb, Liz Newton
Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington
Washington County Commissioners: Roy Rogers, Dick Schouten, Pam Treece, Jerry Willey State Representatives: Margaret Doherty, Courtney Neron
State Senators: Ginny Burdick, Kim Thatcher, Mark Hass, Rob Wagner
Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi
Executive Branch: Governor Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno, Treasurer Tobias Read