New York DFS Urges Insurers to Encourage the Use of Commercial GPS

April 13, 2018

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) has advised its regulated insurers to encourage policyholders that investing in commercial global positioning system (GPS) equipment could reduce motor vehicle collisions and result in lower insurance premiums.

This move comes after a recent bridge strike on the Southern State Parkway in Long Island, N.Y., in which a bus carrying high school students collided with an overpass, shearing off the bus’s roof and injuring students, according to a DFS letter issued to property and casualty insurers authorized to write commercial automobile coverage in New York. The letter, signed by Executive Deputy Superintendent for Insurance Scott Fischer, added that news reports said the bus involved in the crash was using a GPS system that was not a commercial or professional model.

“The recent bridge strike on the Southern State Parkway was serious, avoidable and should be a wake up call for all businesses that use buses, tractor trailers and similar vehicles,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “I have directed DFS to take action and encourage the use of appropriate GPS equipment that will help prevent these accidents in New York, as well as the injuries and potential tragedies that come with them.”

DFS is urging property and casualty insurers to examine whether the prospective policyholder, or existing policyholder, should – and to what extent – utilize commercial GPS on insured vehicles. With this guidance, insurers should assist and encourage policyholders to use only commercial GPS equipment if the equipment is in use in their vehicles at all, according to the release.

The state has incurred more than $125 million in costs over the last five years to repair damaged bridges and overpasses across New York. Between 2009 to 2015 alone, more than 700 New York Department of Transportation bridges and overpasses were damaged by overheight vehicles, the release said.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, GPS equipment designed for commercial use provides important information to drivers that they would not receive if using a non-commercial GPS, like low overpasses and other route restrictions.

“New York motor vehicle insurers have the opportunity to be at the forefront in protecting all New Yorkers from avoidable accidents,” said DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo in a prepared statement. “DFS stands ready to work with our regulated motor vehicle insurers to urge them to develop and file programs and rules, in accordance with New York Insurance Law, that encourage the proper use of commercial GPS technology.”

Source: New York Department of Financial Services

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