or Mary E. Christiano, director of communication
Fax: (888) 225-6935
Web site: www.pia.org/NY/
FOR RELEASE: Feb. 11, 2010
GLEN COVE, N.Y.–Ronald L. Tepperman, LUTC, of Woodbury, N.Y., past president of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc., recently met with Assemblyman Charles Lavine, D-13, on key insurance issues. PIANY is working on behalf of local independent agents, their businesses and their clients for the passage of a comprehensive legislative agenda in 2010, which includes: repealing mandatory photo inspections; raising automobile surcharge thresholds; and standardizing windstorm triggers.
“I appreciate the time Assemblyman Lavine has provided me to understand PIANY’s concerns for 2010,” said Tepperman. “Working with area legislators helps ensure that the concerns of PIANY members and their clients, New York state insurance consumers, will be addressed throughout the year.”
PIANY’s legislative priorities are of particular importance to the insurance-buying public throughout New York state. The association’s key goals for the year are as follows:
- Raise the minimum threshold for automobile surcharges. This legislation would raise the minimum threshold of property damage that, if exceeded in a motor vehicle accident, would allow an insurer to impose a policy premium surcharge. The threshold was established more than a decade ago and should be updated to reflect inflation. The Executive Budget proposal would increase the threshold for imposing premium surcharges to from $1,000 to $3,000.
- The repeal of mandatory photo inspections. Currently, insurers must require these inspections, which call for photos to be taken of a car before collision or comprehensive insurance is issued. Though originally intended to reduce insurance fraud, the requirement represents an onerous burden for the insured, as failure to obtain an inspection, with sometimes as little as five days notice, can result in a lapse of physical damage coverage. Methods for verifying and tracking the existence and physical condition of vehicles have improved greatly since the regulation was enacted, making the regulation antiquated and unnecessary.
- Reform no-fault. New York state is experiencing steep increases in no-fault fraud, evidenced by a 56 percent increase in typical no-fault payments for medical care of accident victims in the last five years. As a result, the costs associated with fraud and abuse of the state’s no-fault system are ultimately borne by policyholders, our members’ clients, and are now the second highest in the country. Nonetheless, New York’s no-fault system remains sound public policy and a viable system to ensure that injured policyholders’ claims are paid in an effective and efficient manner. The time has come, once again, for substantive change of the no-fault system though both legislation and regulation. PIANY supports changes to New York’s laws and regulations to fight the epidemic of insurance fraud that is attacking the state’s no-fault system.
- Standardize homeowners insurance windstorm triggers. Windstorm coverage requires classifications of wind damage in order for a policy to coverage damage, related to specific “trigger” events. However, these “triggers” differ from policy to policy, potentially leaving gaps for insurance consumers. The development of uniform hurricane deductible triggers is something that must be addressed before we witness the consequences that will occur the next time a catastrophic event hits New York’s coastal areas.
PIANY is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.