N.Y. Emergency Reg Requires Insurers to Expedite Claims Related to Civil Unrest

June 5, 2020

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued an emergency regulation requiring New York-regulated insurers to accelerate the claims process for businesses and individuals suffering damage as a result of looting.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s announced the regulation yesterday, which requires New York State-regulated insurance companies to expedite the resolution and payment of looting and vandalism related insurance claims. It is based on similar emergency relief applied in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Additional relief provided by the emergency regulation will include allowing policyholders to make immediate repairs to damaged property if necessary to protect health or safety and to submit claims with reasonable proof of loss, including photos, so businesses don’t have to wait for police reports to file a claim, according to Cuomo’s announcement. It will also offer small businesses and consumers the option to resolve disputes through an impartial mediation process paid for by the applicable insurer.

“DFS expects the insurance industry to do its part to support New York businesses and individuals that are suffering from the compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the looting,” DFS stated in a press release regarding the regulation. “In this situation, it is imperative that insurers, as well as agents and brokers, work towards fair and speedy resolutions of claims.”

Insurers and producers should also recognize that affected New York policyholders may be limited in their ability to document claims due to the ongoing burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential continuing unrest, the release stated. With this in mind, DFS is requiring insurers and producers to assist policyholders with helpful information regarding emergency aid, tips for damage prevention and resources for remediating damage.

“DFS expects New York’s insurance industry to cooperate fully in expediting property damage claims due to looting, to allow claimants, including main street small businesses and households, to rebuild and recover,” said DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell in the release. “Regulated insurers have an obligation to move quickly, and this action will facilitate the effective processing and resolution of claims.”

A copy of the emergency regulation can be found on the DFS website.

Source: New York State Department of Financial Services

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