Representatives of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc. met with Hudson Valley legislators Assemblyman Kevin A. Cahill, D-101; Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, R-96; and Sen. Bill Larkin, R-39, a member of the Senate Insurance Committee, to share the association's top legislative issues for 2009. PIANY's representatives included: President-elect Kevin M. Ryan, CIC; Director Paul G. Casciaro, CIC, CSRM; Young Insurance Professionals President Amy Bryan; and PIANY member Maryann DeGroodt.
PIANY works on behalf of New York state independent insurance agents and their clients and seeks to forward several legislative issues this year. Those include: repealing onerous mandatory photo inspections for personal auto insurance; making it more difficult for carriers to collect surcharges on automobile policies; and adopting credit scoring protections for commercial policyholders.
"Local businesses and homeowners are concerned about acquiring affordable insurance," said Ryan. "By having conversations with our area legislators and keeping them aware of our needs, we can help ensure these concerns are 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:
- The repeal of mandatory photo inspections. Currently, insurers must require these inspec-tions, which calls 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.
- Returned check policy cancellation. PIANY is working to address the ongoing problem of bounced premium checks by advocating for legislation that would enable producers to request policy cancellation for nonpayment. The current remedy, necessitating litigation, is unfair and burdensome to producers.
- 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 over a decade ago and should be updated to reflect inflation. The new law would double the amount from $1,000 to $2,000.
- Credit scoring notification. This legislation would provide protection to commercial lines insurance policyholders by providing them notice when their credit information is used for underwriting.