New York Regulator Takes Action to Expedite Isaias-Related Insurance Claims

August 13, 2020

The New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) has taken action to help expedite the payment of insurance claims for New Yorkers affected by Tropical Storm Isaias.

As the storm moved through the eastern portion of the state, it caused numerous downed trees, localized flash flooding and a peak of more than 920,000 power outages. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency to assist localities with storm response and cleanup missions.

To provide additional support to New York consumers impacted by Tropical Storm Isaias, DFS will allow temporary, expedited permits to be issued to qualified out-of-state independent insurance adjusters working on behalf of authorized insurers under New York Insurance Law.

As insurers have reported large spikes in the number of storm-related claims being submitted, increasing the number of adjusters available to process these claims will help New Yorkers get their claim settlements paid and their property repaired faster, according to a press release issued by Cuomo’s office announcing the DFS action.

“We know New Yorkers are tough, but they’re also smart enough to ask for help when they need it, and in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias, our friends and neighbors need all the support they can get,” Cuomo said in the release. “With many families and small businesses already experiencing financial hardship from the pandemic, it is critical that New Yorkers impacted by the storm are able to easily submit claims and quickly receive a resolution.”

DFS expects insurers to:

  • Promptly process and investigate insurance claims made by claimants;
  • Allow claimants to provide as reasonable proof items such as: photographs or video recordings (without the need for a physical inspection); material samples, if applicable; inventories; and receipts for any repairs to or replacement of property; and
  • Allow claimants to make immediate repairs to damaged property if necessary to protect health or safety.

Claims adjusters should recognize that affected New York claimants may be limited in their ability to document claims due to the ongoing burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic and assist all claimants with helpful information regarding emergency aid, tips for damage prevention and resources for remediating damage, according to the release.

Insurers are reminded, in light of the recent increase in extreme weather and climate events, to maintain adequate New York-licensed independent adjuster staff to respond to these events. In addition, insurers should be mindful of New York State COVID-related travel restrictions when applying for temporary adjuster permits, the release stated.

“DFS expects the insurance industry to step up and expedite claim settlements, especially at a time when New York families and small businesses are being financially squeezed by the ongoing public health crisis and the economic impact of COVID-19,” DFS Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell said in the release. “Regulated insurers must work with policyholders to settle claims promptly, and this action helps to ensure this critical responsibility is fulfilled.”

Source: New York Office of the Governor

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