N.Y. Legislature Leaves Reg. Reform Unfinished, Defeats Trial Lawyer Bills

June 26, 2000

The New York Legislature ended its 2000 session leaving important insurance regulatory reform unfinished, but did defeat a number of bills promoted by trial lawyers that would have increased costs for consumers and businesses in New York.

“The most disappointing outcome of this session is the Legislature’s failure to enact regulatory reform for commercial lines of insurance,” said Mary Griffin, AIA assistant vice president, northeast region. “Although negotiations continued to the very end and both houses and the Governor appeared close to an agreement, none was reached.”

The Legislature enacted an important change in the way workers’ compensation insurers are assessed for six special funds, however. The bill allows publicly held insurers to comply with a new Financial Accounting Standards Board accounting standard. These expenses were funded through assessments from workers’ compensation insurers based upon their total paid losses in the preceding calendar year.

This bill will change the financing to an assessment based on premiums written. The assessment will be collected through a policyholder surcharge. The Legislature also defeated a bill that would have created a “private right of action” against insurers for “bad faith” claims, as well as attempts to expand wrongful death liability, bypass the arbitration system in New York’s no-fault auto law and create HMO liability.

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