Hudson Valley News
1:08 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

NYS Assembly Hearing Focuses on Sandy Insurance Claims

Credit State Farm

A hearing began earlier today in New York City to examine how insurance claims were settled during Superstorm Sandy, and how they should be handled during future disasters.

Democratic Assemblymember Kevin Cahill, of Kingston, chairs the Assembly’s Insurance Committee.

Ellen Melchionni is the president of the New York Insurance Association, and is testifying at the hearing. She says her association has drawn up a disaster preparedness agenda, a list of suggestions for policymakers to improve the insurance-claims process. Here is one of the items.

And, she says, the state Department of Financial Services should establish potential disaster-response staging sites in advance, and include an area for adjusters.

Assemblymember Cahill says he expects to hear from representatives from the Department of Financial Services, insurance agents and brokers, adjusters, representatives from major insurance companies, and consumers.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday announced that the Department of Financial Services has issued an emergency regulation that establishes a voluntary mediation process for homeowners who are disputing their insurance claims or who are dissatisfied with their claims from Superstorm Sandy having been denied. State officials say most non-flood insurance claims have been resolved.

The New York Insurance Association’s Melchionni says she hopes state officials embark upon an educational campaign for consumers.

On November 29th,  Governor Cuomo issued a regulation to require insurance companies to start investigating claims in six business days after the claim is made to the insurer, rather than 15 business days. The new rule applies to Superstorm Sandy. And it’s a rule that Ellen Melchionni would like to see tabled in the future.

As to where any regulation may fall on the issue of insurance claims, Assemblymember Cahill says he will wait to hear all the testimony before taking any action.

Requests for more information and comment from the Department of Financial Services were not answered in time for this broadcast.

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