PIANY Asks Sponsors to Drop Effort to “Roll Back” Key No-fault Reforms

March 10, 2003

While the NAII was fighting to uphold Regulation 68 against a legal challenge (See previous article), the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc. issued a letter to each sponsor of a bill, S.1277/A.269, which “would revoke hard-won rules by the New York State Insurance Department,” i.e. those contained in Regulation 68.

The PIANY bulletin gave details of the provisions contained in the rules and stressed that “this action has proven an effective tool to combat New York State’s burgeoning no-fault fraud. The prior, lengthy timeframes meant insurers were virtually powerless to investigate suspicious claims because of the interval of time that could elapse.”

“The bill would actually be worse than the prior Regulation 68 timeframes,” PIANY President David Isenberg indicated. “Medical providers’ deadlines would toll not from the beginning of treatment as now, but from its completion, leaving an open-ended invitation to medical fraud.”

The PIANY also took note of the legal challenges, indicating that “Advocates of medical interests and the trial bar have fought against the new rules in a three-year legal battle opposing reform.”

“We feel so strongly that this bill sends a mixed message on fraud, that we are urging you to remove your name from sponsorship and support our request to have the bill’s enactment clause stricken,” Isenberg wrote in his letter to the legislators. “This would unequivocally signal your understanding of the seriousness of today’s fraud situation.”

He cited a recent news story, also noted by NYSID Superintendent Gregory V. Serio, which described “a daylight shooting on a busy Brooklyn street—attributed to a ‘turf war’ by fraud organizers, called ‘runners,’ fighting over a prime location for pre-planned crashes and a story in the New York AAA magazine warning drivers how to evade being rammed as part of an auto insurance scam.”

“Not only is fraud costing the state’s auto insurance policyholders hundreds of millions annually, it also is endangering innocent lives,” Isenberg told lawmakers. “When New York’s citizens need to worry about being injured or killed in a deliberately staged accident, or shot by ‘runners’ on the streets of their neighborhood, insurance fraud is indeed a problem that has spun way out of control. We strongly urge you to send an unmistakable sign that enough is enough. Remove your name and work for this bill to be stripped of its enactment clause.”

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