senate Bill S413

2009-2010 Legislative Session

Establishes the consumer advocate insurance commission

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 06, 2010 referred to consumer protection
Jan 07, 2009 referred to consumer protection

S413 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Insurance

S413 - Bill Texts

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BILL NUMBER: S413

TITLE OF BILL :

An act establishing the consumer advocate insurance commission


PURPOSE :

The purpose of this bill is to ensure that insurance consumers in New
York State have an institutional advocate to act on their behalf.


SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :

Section 1. Establishes the legislative intent of the bill to create a
Consumer Advocate Insurance Commission to ensure accurate resources
are available to all consumers through the presence of members who
will have experience in the insurance industry. This section ensures
that the Commission will promote markets where competition is not
present and will exercise its regulatory authority judiciously to
ensure equitable rates and superior service.

Section 2. Provides the conditions of the Consumer Advocate Insurance
Commission such that, the Commission shall consist of five members, to
be appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the
Senate and Assembly. One member will be designated as the Chair at the
pleasure of the Governor.

Section 3. Provides for staggered terms for five years for the members
which will be determined by the Governor. This section also mandates
that members of the Commission will receive no compensation for their
services, but will reimburse members for actual and necessary expenses
incurred in the performance of their duties. Requires the Commission
to utilize insurance data submitted by insurance companies and health
maintenance companies to protect the consumer and to post complete
annual statements in regard to rate changes on their web site free of
charge This section also mandates that the Commission provides the
following services: determine whether insurance rates charged are
reasonable; identity false claims of insurance companies and insurance
regulators; analyze the impact of insurance law changes and
regulations; review individual insurers and industry wide
profitability by company and by type of insurance coverage in relation
to claims for higher rates or less regulation; analyze insurance
availability and redlining; track services in insurance markets. This
bill will also stipulate that public hearings be held quarterly to
provide information on any changes that may affect insurance rate
increases and any new legislation that may provide detrimental to
consumers. Lastly, this provides that the Commission publish a
handbook that will be available to all consumers which provide
information on the following insurance data and rate making, glossary
of insurance data terms, information on insurance sales and service.

JUSTIFICATION :

Insurance companies, health maintenance organizations and their
lobbyists deluge consumers and the media with broad generalizations
about insurance that is often designed to promote rate increases. The
ideas float in a sea of numbers that can drown out opposing views and
ultimately negatively impact consumers. It is clear that consumers in
New York State need to have an institutional advocate to act on their
behalf. It is important for the New York State legislature to create a
Consumer Advocate Insurance Commission. The Consumer Advocate
Insurance Commission will use insurance data submitted by insurance
companies to support sound policy proposals that will protect the
consumer. This Commission of trained professionals will be able to
quickly identify and rebut the misuse of insurance industry data by
industry lobbyists, a powerful tool during negotiations over rates
(and legislation). The establishment of the Consumer Advocate
Insurance Commission will ensure accurate resources are available to
all consumers. This will be competed through posting complete annual
statements in regards to rate and legislative changes on their web
site free of charge, providing such services but not limited to
determining whether insurance rates charged are reasonable, and
analyzing the impact of insurance law changes and regulations. The
Commission will also hold quarterly public hearings to provide
information on any changes that may affect insurance rate increases
and on any new legislation that may prove detrimental to consumers.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :

2007/2008 - S.6073 Remained in the Senate Committee on Consumer
Protection

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :

To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE :
This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it
has become a law.
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