NY Court Upholds Reg 68, Shortening Auto Claims Filing Limits

February 21, 2002

Judge William Wetzel of the New York Supreme Court has upheld Regulation 68, which shortens the time period for filing injury claims in auto accident cases in the state and addresses one of the major auto insurance fraud factors facing New York insurers.

The NYSID had proposed amendments to existing regulations to the state’s no-fault insurance law to reduce auto accident notification time from 90 to 30 days, and the time within which insurers must receive proof of claim for medical treatments from 180 to 45 days. Attorneys for several consumer groups had obtained a stay for the implementation of the rules last September.

Judge Wetzel denied the plaintiffs’ request to have the amendments declared illegal, null and void on the grounds that the NYSID had exceeded its authority in adopting and approving them.

“We are pleased that Judge Wetzel and the Supreme Court recognized both the importance and the lawfulness of the regulation,” stated Joe Termini, counsel for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII). “This regulation is clearly in the best interest of New York consumers and will help in reducing fraud, which is rampant in the state.”

The NAII announcement cited language in the Court’s decision which stated that it was “unpersuaded that asking a supplier to bill within 45 days rises to the level of ‘irrational or unreasonable.”

“The decision resolves months of controversy surrounding the regulation, which was opposed by trial lawyers and other litigants,” said the NAII. “The new regulation, which is effective retroactively to September 1, 2001, should have a major impact in reducing insurance fraud in the state,” Termini noted. “Allowing 180 days for submitting bills, as is the case under the previous regulation, enables medical mills to unnecessarily over-treat patients for up to six months before an insurer has a chance to scrutinize any of the bills. The insurer then has only 10 days to determine whether the bills should be paid. The new regulation will tighten the time frame and make it more difficult for fraudsters to operate in the state.”

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