NY Agents Hear Different Solutions to Auto Rate Reform Crisis

February 11, 2002

A recent meeting, hosted by the Independent Insurance Agents Association of New York (IIANY) and the AIA, attended by representatives of 23 insurance carriers operating in the State, heard differing views on the changes that should be made to solve the ongoing crisis in the automobile insurance sector.

State Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio defended his Department’s proposals, notably those contained in Regulation 68, which would shorten the time periods required for reporting accidents and filing claims for personal injuries, as well as medical reports, in the face of the approach taken by the State Assembly, which is seeking to pass a bill to control premium rates.

Assemblyman Pete Grannis (D-Manhattan) told the conference that he had high hopes for enacting a reform bill in an election year, and denied that the proposal included a rate roll back, but he defended its provisions to temporarily freeze premiums rates, and questioned the effectiveness of linking the bill with auto insurance fraud measures as a way to reduce premiums.

Serio also called for reenactment of the “2 percent rule” and the flex rating provisions which were allowed to lapse last August. These would again allow insurers to raise or lower rates up to 7 percent and drop up to 2 percent of their auto customers within a specified geographic territory for justifiable reasons without prior approval of the NYSID.

There appeared to be some room for compromise, as Grannis stated he wasn’t opposed to readopting the 2 percent rule, and supported the flex rating regulation, to the extent that it lowered, rather than raised rates.

The IIANY lined up behind Senate proposals to pass legislation aimed at reducing fraud, which Serio indicated cost NY consumers over $ 1 billion a year, and urged the Assembly to accept the proposals..

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