N.Y. State Employees Honored for Roles in Lowering Auto Rates

October 26, 2005

Ten New York State Insurance Department employees and five from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services have been presented with the Governor’s Office of Employees Relations’ Workforce Champions Award. The award recognizes state employees who have worked together to improve significantly state government operations.

The NYSID and the DCJS professionals were honored for their successful efforts to reduce New York State’s automobile insurance rates. The two agencies employed a multi-faceted strategy in recent years to bring cost savings to millions of drivers statewide. The regulatory initiatives included:

Reducing to 45 days from 180 days the time in which medical providers must submit claims to insurers for payment and to 30 days from 90 days the timeframe for injured parties to file an injury claim. Both measures closed loopholes in the NYSID’s Regulation 68 that had been exploited for fraud and abuse.

Developing a statewide partnership with all 62 county prosecutors, private-sector insurer fraud units and the law enforcement community to attack aggressively no-fault auto fraud in New York State.

Bringing price uniformity to the durable medical equipment (e.g., neck braces, walkers) market so that auto insurers pay to the sellers of these devices fees that are now linked to the New York State Medicaid Management Information Provider Manual. Governed under NYSID Regulation 83, the sellers of durable medical equipment had billed auto insurers previously under rules that were open to interpretation.

Improving the efficiency of New York’s no-fault arbitration system, which helps to settle no-fault auto disputes between claimants and insurers. The number of pending cases in the arbitration system dropped to 17,053 as of September 2005 when compared to the 116,200 that were unresolved in March 2002, a reduction of 85 percent.

Efforts by the NYSID and DCJS began to pay dividends in late 2004 when a few major auto insurers announced they were lowering rates by 5 percent to 10 percent. Other auto insurers followed suit in 2005 for their policyholders. As a result of these rate reductions, New York drivers are expected to save approximately $400 million in auto insurance premiums as of year-end 2005.

The following individuals from the New York Insurance Department were cited for their contributions: August D’Aureli (Deputy Chief Investigator), Gary Anderson (Senior Investigator), Mark Sirkin (Senior Investigator), Arthur Masinski (Senior Investigator), David Hahn (Senior Investigator), Edward Miller (Investigator), Paul Zuckerman (Principal Attorney), Lawrence Fuchsberg (Supervising Attorney), Joseph Smeragliuolo (Supervising Insurance Examiner), and Bruce Green (Supervising Actuary).

The New York State Division of Criminal Services honorees included: Eileen Langer-Smith (Criminal Justice Program Specialist), Jack Donnelly (Criminal Justice Program Representative), John DonVito (Criminal Justice Program Representative), Michael Nardolillo (Criminal Justice Program Representative), and Vicki Milonovich (Criminal Justice Program Aide).

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