Superintendent Eric Dinallo has announced the formation of the New York State Insurance Department Elder Protection Unit, which he said will support elderly residents in dealing with their insurance concerns.
“Job one is to protect consumers, and the elderly are among the most vulnerable,” said Dinallo. “We have established this unit because we have seen a growing number of complex insurance issues directly affecting seniors and a growing number of complaints. Seniors must navigate an array of insurance offerings, including an expanding life settlement industry, Medicare Advantage and supplemental plans, long term care insurance and community care residential centers.”
Dinallo cited reports of unfair and deceptive sales practices resulting in seniors being sold insurance products they do not fully understand as one reason for forming the unit. He identified assisted living coverage, the suitability of products for seniors and deceptive marketing practices with both life insurance and annuities as the areas of prime concern.
“We will relentlessly pursue any agent, broker or insurer who engages in deceptive or illegal practices against New York’s seniors. We will work to educate consumers on the many options available to them and the challenges those may offer,” he vowed.
The Elder Protection Unit will, among other things, set standards for insurers, agents and brokers in the sale of insurance products for senior citizens; initiate studies and special examinations to ensure that the insurance marketplace serves the needs of senior citizens; and formulate legislative and regulatory proposals.
It will also expand the department’s Senior Citizens Insurance Resource Center website (www.ins.state.ny.us/cseniors.htm) to include information regarding deceptive or illegal sales practices.
Dinallo said the department has also updated its consumer complaint tracking system to monitor complaints from seniors or their representatives.
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