senate Bill S4235A

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

Versions:
S4235
S4235A
S4235B
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Law Section:
Insurance Law
Laws Affected:
Add §215, Ins L

Votes

18
0
18
Aye
0
Nay
1
aye with reservations
0
absent
0
excused
0
abstained
show Insurance committee vote details

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S4235A

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: § 215. (a) Creates 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.

(b) 1. 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 the following information:

(1) Steps insurers currently take in order to respond to
disaster-related claims in a timely fashion.

(2) Challenges insurer experience when responding to disasters.

(3) Steps insurers currently take to adequately assess damage so that
homeowners and municipalities can remove debris and make repairs
quickly.

(4) Additional steps insurers and state and local agencies can take to
better respond to the needs of communities and policyholders affected
by a disaster.

(5) Ways insurers and state and local agencies can proactively reach
out to policyholders and communities following a disaster.

(6) Ways insurers assist homeowners and businesses affected by a
disaster whose premiums are due.


(7) 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.

(8) Whether or not New Yorkers have adequate insurance coverage and if
not, identifying what barriers exist that may prevent people from
purchasing adequate coverage.

(9) Identifying measures to encourage homeowners and businesses to
purchase flood insurance as needed.

(10) Steps insurers take to prevent disputes with policy holders and
to resolve those which do occur as well as additional steps insurers
can take.

(11) Legislative actions that can be considered to address such
issues.

§ 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

Justification: Following Super-storm Sandy and Tropical Storms Irene
and Lee, it was found that there were lengthy delays in the time 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.

This task force will in effect create a public/private partnership
between both New York State and the insurance industry. Working


together, issues brought on by future disasters will addressed in a
more effective manner.

Prior Legislative History: Skoufis - 01/09/13 referred to insurance
Latimer - 03/15/13 REFERRED TO INSURANCE

Fiscal Implications:

For State To be determined

Local Governments: To be determined

Effective Date: This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                 4235--A

                       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  --  recommitted
  to the Committee on Insurance in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8
  --  committee  discharged,  bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended
  and recommitted to said committee

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 IN SUCH RESPONSE AND WHETHER POLICY-
HOLDERS AND COMMUNITIES HAVE ADEQUATE INSURANCE.
  (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
THE GOVERNOR BASED UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE MINORITY LEADER OF THE
SENATE.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05808-05-4

S. 4235--A                          2

  (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 BETTER WITH COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS AND STATE  AGEN-
CIES TO FACILITATE TIMELY CLAIMS INVESTIGATION AND PROCESSING, SUGGESTED
LEGISLATION  TO  ADDRESS,  ISSUES  IDENTIFIED BY THE TASK FORCE, 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) STEPS INSURERS CURRENTLY TAKE TO ADEQUATELY ASSESS DAMAGE SO  THAT
HOMEOWNERS  AND MUNICIPALITIES CAN REMOVE DEBRIS AND MAKE REPAIRS QUICK-
LY;
  (4) ADDITIONAL STEPS INSURERS AND STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES CAN TAKE TO
BETTER RESPOND TO THE NEEDS OF COMMUNITIES AND POLICYHOLDERS AFFECTED BY
A DISASTER;
  (5) WAYS INSURERS AND STATE AND LOCAL AGENCIES CAN  PROACTIVELY  REACH
OUT TO POLICYHOLDERS AND COMMUNITIES FOLLOWING A DISASTER;
  (6)  WAYS  INSURERS  ASSIST  HOMEOWNERS  AND  BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY A
DISASTER WHOSE PREMIUMS ARE DUE;
  (7) 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;

S. 4235--A                          3

  (8) WHETHER OR NOT NEW YORKERS HAVE ADEQUATE INSURANCE COVERAGE AND IF
NOT, IDENTIFYING WHAT  BARRIERS  EXIST  THAT  MAY  PREVENT  PEOPLE  FROM
PURCHASING ADEQUATE COVERAGE;
  (9)  IDENTIFYING  MEASURES  TO  ENCOURAGE HOMEOWNERS AND BUSINESSES TO
PURCHASE FLOOD INSURANCE AS NEEDED;
  (10) STEPS INSURERS TAKE TO PREVENT DISPUTES WITH POLICYHOLDERS AND TO
RESOLVE THOSE WHICH DO OCCUR AS WELL AS ADDITIONAL  STEPS  INSURERS  CAN
TAKE;
  (11)  LEGISLATIVE  ACTIONS  THAT  CAN  BE  CONSIDERED  TO ADDRESS SUCH
ISSUES.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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