New York Agents Group Praises Coastal Reform Plan

A key trade group for insurance agents in New York is lauding a proposal by regulators to reform the coastal homeowners insurance market in the state.

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) called the proposed reforms — which have drawn fire from insurers — an “important first step” toward solving availability and affordability problems in the state’s coastal areas.

IIABNY said that admitted insurers in the state have restricted the amounts of homeowners insurance they will provide in the coastal areas, particularly eastern Long Island, which has forced homeowners to obtain coverage from unregulated companies or from the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA), the state’s market of last resort.

Citing data from the Excess Line Association of New York, IIABNY said that the non-licensed insurers wrote 16,000 homeowners policies in 2009 — up from 4,400 in 2005 and 3,300 in 2000.

One out of every five dwellings insured by NYPIUA is on Long Island, IIABNY said and more than a quarter are in Suffolk County.

“These proposals from the New York Insurance Department are an important first step to restoring a healthy homeowners insurance market for the state’s coastal areas,” said Thomas J. Crowley of Maran Corporate Risk Associates in Southampton and IIABNY’s secretary-treasurer. “We appreciate the department’s efforts on this issue and look forward to working with them and our insurance company partners to ensure a vibrant and competitive market for homeowners near the ocean.”