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PIANY meets with key legislators to discuss agent issues

PIANYs Director of Government & Industry Affairs Matthew Guilbault, Esq., and Legislative Representative Allison Lee met with key legislative leaders and committee chairs this week to discuss the problems our members are experiencing with coastal insurance cancellations and non-renewals; automobile photo inspection requirements; no-fault fraud; and certificate of insurance demands. PIANY also expressed concern about the executive budgets increased penalty proposals. PIANY then presented bill language to offer relief to agents and policyholders.

Certificate of insurance demands. During the meetings, held Feb. 28 in the Capitol, PIANY provided draft bill language to Senate and Assembly Insurance Committee Chairs Sen. Jim Seward, R-51, and Assemblyman Joe Morelle, D-132, to address the growing problems posed by inappropriate (and illegal) certificate of insurance demands.  PIANY believes that certificates should be filed with and approved by the New York State Insurance Department superintendent. Insurance producers across the state have told PIANY of the burdens their offices face on a daily basis caused by requests to issue certificates of insurance that, if honored, would violate the law.

As an illustration of the breadth and severity of this problem, the NYSID issued at least three regulatory directives dealing with certificates of insurance, reciting its position (with which PIANY agrees) that certificates of insurance should be used only to provide evidence of insurance in lieu of an actual copy of the applicable insurance policy and should not be used to amend, expand or otherwise alter the terms of the actual policy, under penalty of law.

PIANY offered a proposal that would prevent certificate holders from seeking the illegal creation of unique and highly improper certificates by requiring that only certificates filed with and approved by the superintendent would be permissible for use. The proposal, based on a successful new law passed in Louisiana, would grant the superintendent strong protective criteria to follow when considering certificates for approval. All standard forms provided by ACORD would be deemed automatically approved. We look forward to working with the Insurance Committee chairs toward passage of this critically important proposal.

Coastal windstorm deductible triggers. PIANY also met with the staff of Sen. Ken LaValles, R-1, to discuss the proposal he introduced along with Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-20, (A.3283/S.3387) to standardize coastal homeowners insurance windstorm deductible triggers.

A severe hurricane affecting New Yorks coastal areas will reveal inconsistencies that will cause a public outcry over lack of foresight by policymakers. PIANY expressed its concern with the lack of standardization among homeowners insurance policies with respect to the events that trigger a policyholders windstorm deductible and the fact that this lack of standardization will cause consumer confusion when a windstorm hits the states coastal region.

PIANY will continue to press these critically important issues on behalf of its members and encourages you to stay tuned to reports of our progress in our weekly publications and on the PIANY website.