senate Bill S4235

Amended

Creates a task force on disasters

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 15 / Mar / 2013
    • REFERRED TO INSURANCE
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO INSURANCE
  • 24 / Mar / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO INSURANCE
  • 24 / Mar / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 4235A
  • 02 / Jun / 2014
    • REPORTED AND COMMITTED TO FINANCE
  • 03 / Jun / 2014
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO FINANCE
  • 03 / Jun / 2014
    • PRINT NUMBER 4235B
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • ORDERED TO THIRD READING CAL.1602
  • 19 / Jun / 2014
    • SUBSTITUTED BY A1093C

Summary

Creates a task force on disasters; provides that such task force shall consist of twenty-three members.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A1093
Versions:
S4235
S4235A
S4235B
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Insurance Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง215, Ins L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4235

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to
creating a task force on disasters

Purpose Or General Idea Of Bill: The purpose of this bill is to
create a task force to examine and report on whether policyholders and
communities have adequate insurance coverage and if they are able to
rely upon that coverage in the event of a disaster.

Summary Of Specific Provisions: This bill would create a task force
to examine how insurers who write policies that cover loss of or
damage to real property, personal property, or other liabilities for
loss of, damage to, or injury to persons or property in New York State
respond to disasters, in what ways state and local agencies such as
the Department of Financial Services and the Department of Homeland
Security and Emergency Services can assist claimants in connecting
with insurance companies, and what steps the industry can take to
improve its response in the future.

The task force would consist of 18 members, including the
Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services and
Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency
Services (who shall serve as co-chairs), 5 insurers who write policies
that cover loss or damage to property (including at least one insurer
who writes for the National Flood insurance Program), 5 local officers
who respond to disasters and emergencies (including representatives
from New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and rural areas of
the state that are prone to flooding), 2 organizations that represent
independent and public adjusters, 2 non-profits that have experience
with disaster relief, and 2 consumer advocacy groups.

The task force would report to the Governor, the Speaker of the
Assembly, the Temporary President of the Senate, and the Chairs of the
Assembly and Senate Insurance Committees one year after the effective
date of its authorizing legislation. The report would be required to
include information on the challenges that insurers face when
responding to a disaster, possible ways for insurers to work with
community stakeholders and state agencies to ensure that claims are
investigated and processed in a timely fashion, a summary of
complaints that policyholders from affected areas have filed with the
Department of Financial Services and the final resolution of those
complaints, suggested legislation on how to improve the insurance
industry's response to disasters, and any other information the
Superintendent of the Department of Financial Services and the
Commissioner of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency
Services deems relevant.

Justification: Following Superstorm Sandy and Tropical Storms Irene
and Lee, it was found that there were lengthy delays in the time it
was taking insurance companies to investigate and process claims,
conducting site inspections of damaged property, and making payments
to policyholders. This was due to the large volume of claims received
and obstacles the storms presented to insurance companies, such as
washed away roads and displaced policyholders. Such delays made it
difficult for homeowners and communities to begin to make repairs and
rebuild in a timely fashion and were especially troublesome when


repairs were necessary for the health and safety of individuals and
the community.

In addition, disasters have a significant impact upon businesses,
especially small businesses. For example, following Sandy, many
businesses in downtown Manhattan were unable to open, resulting in not
only lost income for the businesses but also lost wages for their
employees. This can make it difficult for business owners and
individuals to make premium payments, putting them at risk for losing
their insurance coverage when they need it the most.

Furthermore, following the storms many policyholders were surprised to
learn that they did not have adequate coverage. Many policyholders
were unaware that their homeowner's policy did not cover flood damages
or, if they were aware, did not purchase a separate flood policy.
Policyholders also expressed confusion over what types of damages
homeowners and flood policies cover and what the coverage limits were
under their policies. As a result, many policyholders received
payments that were far less than what they expected to receive.

Because of these issues and the increasing frequency with which the
State is seeing destructive storms like Sandy, Irene, and Lee, it is
important to examine how the insurance industry responds to disasters
and what steps the industry can take to improve its response in the
future.

Prior Legislative History: New bill

Fiscal Implications For State: Unknown

Fiscal Implications for Local Governments: Unknown

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  4235

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             March 15, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. LATIMER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance

AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to creating a task  force
  on disasters

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 215 to
read as follows:
  S 215. TASK FORCE ON DISASTERS.  (A) THERE IS HEREBY  CREATED  A  TASK
FORCE  TO  EXAMINE HOW INSURERS WHO WRITE POLICIES THAT COVER LOSS OF OR
DAMAGE TO REAL PROPERTY, PERSONAL PROPERTY,  OR  OTHER  LIABILITIES  FOR
LOSS  OF,  DAMAGE TO, OR INJURY TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY IN NEW YORK STATE
RESPOND TO DISASTERS, IN WHAT WAYS STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES SUCH AS  THE
DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
AND EMERGENCY SERVICES CAN ASSIST CLAIMANTS IN CONNECTING WITH INSURANCE
COMPANIES,  AND WHAT STEPS THE INDUSTRY CAN TAKE TO IMPROVE ITS RESPONSE
IN THE FUTURE.   THE GOAL OF THE TASK FORCE  ON  DISASTERS  WILL  BE  TO
DETERMINE  IF  POLICYHOLDERS  AND  COMMUNITIES  HAVE  ADEQUATE INSURANCE
COVERAGE AND IF THEY ARE ABLE TO RELY UPON THAT COVERAGE IN THE EVENT OF
A DISASTER.
  (B) (1) THE TASK FORCE SHALL CONSIST OF EIGHTEEN MEMBERS, ONE OF  WHOM
SHALL BE THE SUPERINTENDENT OR HIS OR HER DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE, ONE
OF WHOM SHALL BE THE COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
AND  EMERGENCY SERVICES OR HIS OR HER DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE, FOUR OF
WHOM SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR, FOUR OF WHOM SHALL BE APPOINTED
BY THE GOVERNOR BASED UPON THE RECOMMENDATION  OF  THE  SPEAKER  OF  THE
ASSEMBLY, FOUR OF WHOM SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR BASED UPON THE
RECOMMENDATION  OF  THE  TEMPORARY  PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, TWO OF WHOM
SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR BASED UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF  THE
MINORITY  LEADER  OF THE ASSEMBLY, AND TWO OF WHOM SHALL BE APPOINTED BY

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05808-02-3

S. 4235                             2

THE GOVERNOR BASED UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE
SENATE.
  (2) THE APPOINTEES SHALL INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FOLLOWING:
  (A)  FIVE  INSURERS WHO WRITE POLICIES THAT COVER LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO
REAL PROPERTY, PERSONAL PROPERTY, OR  OTHER  LIABILITIES  FOR  LOSS  OF,
DAMAGE  TO,  OR INJURY TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY, INCLUDING REPRESENTATIVES
FROM COMPANIES OF VARYING SIZES AND LOCATIONS AND AT LEAST  ONE  INSURER
WHO WRITES FOR THE NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM.
  (B)  FIVE  LOCAL  OFFICIALS  WHO RESPOND TO DISASTERS AND EMERGENCIES,
INCLUDING POLICE OFFICIALS, PROFESSIONAL AND VOLUNTEER FIRE AND EMERGEN-
CY SERVICES PERSONNEL, AND LOCAL OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR  THE  COORDI-
NATION  OF  EMERGENCY SERVICES AND THE LOCALITY'S RESPONSE TO A DISASTER
OR EMERGENCY.  THESE APPOINTMENTS SHALL REFLECT THE GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY
OF THE STATE AND INCLUDE REPRESENTATIVES FROM  LOCALITIES  WITH  VARYING
POPULATION  DENSITIES.   THESE APPOINTMENTS SHALL ALSO INCLUDE REPRESEN-
TATIVES FROM NEW YORK CITY, LONG ISLAND, THE HUDSON  VALLEY,  AND  RURAL
AREAS OF THE STATE THAT ARE PRONE TO FLOODING.
  (C) TWO ORGANIZATIONS THAT REPRESENT INDEPENDENT AND PUBLIC ADJUSTERS.
  (D) TWO NON-PROFITS THAT HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH DISASTER RELIEF.
  (E) TWO CONSUMER ADVOCACY GROUPS.
  (3) RECOMMENDATIONS AND APPOINTMENTS SHALL TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE
EXPERTISE  OF OTHER APPOINTEES, SO THAT THE TASK FORCE REFLECTS A DIVER-
SITY OF EXPERIENCE.
  (4) THE MEMBERS OF THE TASK FORCE SHALL NOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION,  BUT
SHALL BE REIMBURSED FOR REASONABLE TRAVEL EXPENSES.
  (C)  THE  SUPERINTENDENT, OR HIS OR HER DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE, AND
THE COMMISSIONER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND  SECURITY  AND  EMERGENCY
SERVICES,  OR  HIS  OR HER DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE, SHALL SERVE AS THE
CO-CHAIRS OF THE TASK FORCE.
  (D) THE TASK FORCE SHALL REPORT TO THE GOVERNOR, THE  SPEAKER  OF  THE
ASSEMBLY,  THE  TEMPORARY  PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, AND THE CHAIR OF THE
ASSEMBLY INSURANCE COMMITTEE AND  THE  CHAIR  OF  THE  SENATE  INSURANCE
COMMITTEE ON THE RESULTS OF ITS EXAMINATION ONE YEAR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE
DATE OF THIS SECTION.  THE REPORT SHALL INCLUDE INFORMATION ON THE CHAL-
LENGES  THAT  INSURERS FACE WHEN RESPONDING TO A DISASTER, POSSIBLE WAYS
FOR INSURERS TO WORK WITH COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS AND STATE  AGENCIES  TO
ENSURE THAT CLAIMS ARE INVESTIGATED AND PROCESSED IN A TIMELY FASHION, A
SUMMARY  OF COMPLAINTS THAT POLICYHOLDERS FROM AFFECTED AREAS HAVE FILED
WITH THE DEPARTMENT  AND  THE  FINAL  RESOLUTION  OF  THOSE  COMPLAINTS,
SUGGESTED  LEGISLATION  ON  HOW  TO  IMPROVE  THE  INSURANCE  INDUSTRY'S
RESPONSE TO DISASTERS, AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION THE SUPERINTENDENT  AND
THE  COMMISSIONERS  OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY
SERVICES DEEMS RELEVANT.
  (E) IN COMPLETING ITS TASK, THE TASK FORCE WILL CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING
ISSUES, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER ISSUE THAT IT DEEMS RELEVANT:
  (1) STEPS INSURERS CURRENTLY TAKE IN ORDER TO RESPOND TO  DISASTER-RE-
LATED CLAIMS IN A TIMELY FASHION;
  (2) CHALLENGES INSURERS EXPERIENCE WHEN RESPONDING TO DISASTERS;
  (3)  ADDITIONAL STEPS INSURERS CAN TAKE TO BETTER RESPOND TO THE NEEDS
OF COMMUNITIES AND POLICYHOLDERS AFFECTED BY A DISASTER;
  (4) HOW INSURERS CAN EFFECTIVELY INVESTIGATE CLAIMS AND MAKE  PAYMENTS
WHEN  ENTIRE  COMMUNITIES  HAVE  BEEN  WIPED  OUT  AND  PEOPLE HAVE BEEN
DISPLACED;
  (5) WAYS INSURERS CAN  PROACTIVELY  REACH  OUT  TO  POLICYHOLDERS  AND
COMMUNITIES FOLLOWING A DISASTER;

S. 4235                             3

  (6)  WHETHER  OR  NOT INSURERS ARE GIVING POLICYHOLDERS ENOUGH TIME TO
FILE CLAIMS FOLLOWING A DISASTER;
  (7)  STEPS INSURERS CURRENTLY TAKE TO ADEQUATELY ASSESS DAMAGE SO THAT
HOMEOWNERS AND MUNICIPALITIES CAN REMOVE DEBRIS AND MAKE REPAIRS QUICKLY
AND ANY ADDITIONAL STEPS INSURERS CAN TAKE;
  (8) WAYS INSURERS ASSIST  HOMEOWNERS  AND  BUSINESSES  AFFECTED  BY  A
DISASTER  WHOSE PREMIUMS ARE DUE AND WHETHER THERE IS ADDITIONAL ASSIST-
ANCE AVAILABLE TO POLICYHOLDERS;
  (9) STEPS INSURERS CAN TAKE IF  THEIR  EMPLOYEES  ARE  AFFECTED  BY  A
DISASTER  IN  ORDER  TO  ENSURE  THAT  THEY ARE STILL ABLE TO RESPOND TO
CLAIMS IN A TIMELY FASHION;
  (10) WHETHER OR NOT NEW YORKERS HAVE ADEQUATE INSURANCE  COVERAGE  AND
IF  NOT,  IDENTIFYING  WHAT  BARRIERS EXIST THAT MAY PREVENT PEOPLE FROM
PURCHASING ADEQUATE COVERAGE;
  (11) STEPS INSURERS TAKE TO PREVENT DISPUTES WITH POLICYHOLDERS AND TO
RESOLVE THOSE WHICH DO OCCUR AS WELL AS ADDITIONAL  STEPS  INSURERS  CAN
TAKE;
  (12)  LEGISLATIVE  ACTIONS  THAT  CAN  BE  CONSIDERED  TO ADDRESS SUCH
ISSUES.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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