The National Association of Independent Insurers praised the efforts of the New York State Insurance Department and the claims handling mechanisms adopted by insurers in the wake of the disaster of September 11. The NAII said that the industry has been able to cope with an enormous number of claims in unprecedented circumstances.
John Eager, NAII senior director of claims services, called the NYSID’s actions “exceptionally responsive to the needs of claimants and insurers alike.” He indicated that the NAII, following a request from the NAIC, would make suggestions as to how to proceed with solutions to various claims issues.
The NAII’s five recommendations are summarized as follows:
1) Continue close communication between the New York Disaster Center and the Insurance Emergency Operation Center regarding claiming patterns, problems in claims payment, and specific concerns of claim submittals.
2) Implement a standard disaster protocol to identify, investigate and prosecute perpetrators of fraudulent claims.
3) Review claims practices which require deviating from normal procedures, such as affidavits in lieu of death certificates, proof of loss in workers’ compensation cases, and the destruction of books, records and documents in order to create a clear protocol, which can be followed in all major disasters.
4) Set up alternative resolution procedures to expedite disputes arising from terrorism-related insurance claims, including mediation and arbitration to resolve conflicts short of litigation.
5) Establish a national claims handling protocol including an Insurance Emergency Operations Center along the lines of the one set up in New York.
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