N.Y. Agents Hail Reactivation of Fair Plan Finally

June 30, 2004

After nearly nine weeks of being suspended, operations at the New York property insurance residual market are back.

The suspension of the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association, also known as the Fair Plan, left thousands of home and business property owners without a market. It was due to legislative disputes and inaction on reauthorization legislation.

But finally on June 22, both house of the state legislature approved extending the plan’s authority until June 30, 2005.

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York Inc. commended Gov. George Pataki for quickly signing the legislation.

During the suspension, the program lacked authority to issue new and renewal policies, and non-renewal notices were sent to policyholders whose coverage expires after June 30. NYPIUA will now offer renewals to policyholders who received non-renewal notices, and they will have extended time periods for paying the required premium and not suffer lapses of coverage if they pay on time. The program is also accepting applications and payments on its Web site at www.nypiua.com.

The bill signed by Pataki is also retroactive to April 30, when NYPIUA’s authorization sunset. The 59-day suspension of operations is three days longer than in 2003.

According to IIABNY, the market disruption caused by the legislature’s failure to renew authorization was avoidable and frustrates the organization’s 1,900 member agencies and brokerages.

“New Yorkers should know their legislature’s fix to this problem is at best a stop-gap solution,” said Kathy Weinheimer, IIABNY senior vice president of industry relations and education.

“Our hope is NYPIUA will no longer be used as a political football or bargaining chip as it has in past years. Lawmakers, by not passing legislation to permanently extend authorization, face again the prospect of kicking around NYPIUA this same time next year or even later. It is a game that should end now.”

IIABNY reiterated its calls for permanent NYPIUA reauthorization and urged the Senate and Assembly leaders to pledge to move the issue among their priorities in the 2005 session. “Doing so,” Weinheimer said, “would assure New York’s property owners that this state is serious about stability in a market crucial to the financial well-being of its residents and business community.”

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