New York Add Regulations That could Benefit Both Carriers and Insureds

As part of further efforts to help policyholders in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Governor Cuomo and New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued several new regulations geared towards improving the performance of insurance companies.

In order to expedite Sandy-related insurance claims, the time frame in which insurance companies must send an adjuster to inspect a claim has been shortened. Under the old rule, insurance companies had 15 business days to start investigating claims. The new regulation requires investigation to begin within 6 business days after a claim is made.

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it is vital that New Yorkers receive their claim settlements as soon as possible, so that they can rebuild their homes, businesses and lives,” said Governor Cuomo. “There simply is no substitute for speed when it comes to insurance payouts after a storm.”

In addition, the DFS launched a new on-line report card system assessing the performance of insurance companies in their response to the disaster and payment of claims. Report cards are published for each insurance company operating in areas affected by Sandy and are updated regularly. Insurance companies include Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, State Farm and many others. The report cards key on:

The number of claims

The number of claims closed WITH payment

The number of claims closed WITHOUT payment

The average time (in days) from the date of claim report to the date of inspection

The number of adjusters working in the field on losses related to Sandy

The total number of complaints and as a percentage of number of claims

According to the Superintendent for the DFS, “The performance of insurance companies after a storm like Sandy is incredibly important. Homeowners and businesses have the right to know how their insurers are performing and how quickly the companies are fairly handling claims.”

If this information is made available to all present and future policy holders, the new score card information could allow solid insurance companies and policy holders the ability to find one another. Policy writers will have information of weak areas and be able to focus on improvement. Policy holders will have access to information that would allow them to select strong, fair insurance companies knowing the coverage they believe they have purchased is actually what they are getting.

This assurance could be measured based upon pass policy holders experience. If properly understood, this could be the insurance companies greatest means of advertizement and the policy holders greatest means of feeling secure should an unexpected disaster occur.