Empire State lawmakers should reject increased fines for breaking insurance laws sought by Gov. Eliot Spitzer in his proposed state budget, an agents’ group said.
The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York said proposed fines would grow by as much as 20 times in nearly across-the-board hikes for insurance law violations.
“Whether it’s the complexities of New York state licensing or simply agency personnel forgetful in their renewal procedures, an increased fine in the thousands of dollars could be financially destructive” to agents in New York, said Stephen R. Zogby, chairman of the group.
The agents’ trade group said it believes in punishing criminal intent in the insurance industry, but opposes dramatic increases in fines.
Some of the penalties and their increased fines: fines for violating insurance law would grow from $500 to $10,000, fines for selling insurance without a license would from $1,000 to $10,000, and fines for violating the insurance law regarding physical damage inspections of cars would grow from $500 to $5,000.
It’s not the only fee increase that the group says is out of whack. It’s also taken aim at the proposed $15 increase on automobile registrations, which would bring to $20 the Motor Vehicle Law Enforcement and Highway Safety Fee charged to register a vehicle in the Empire State.
“Albany should reconsider this fee,” said Zogby. “A family with three cars would spend an additional $45 and the cost to a 30-car company fleet would be and increase of $450. With the price of gas and tolls going up, the $15 per vehicle hike would be painful.”
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