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Monday, March 4, 2013

New York Imposes New Rules on Insurers to Hasten Sandy Claims Resolutions

Last week, New York Governor Cuomo announced that the State's Department of Financial Services (DFS) is establishing new rules to speed the processing of insurance claims in areas affected by Sandy.  The changes decrease the amount of time an insurer can delay decisions on a claim and implements additional reporting requirements on an insurer to justify the reasons for the delays.

The new rules apply to homeowner's, renter's and business interruption insurance, but not to flood insurance.

Specifically, the changes include:
  • If an insurer is unable to make a claims decision within the allotted time, extensions are now only 30 days, not 90 days.
  • Any extension letter sent to an insured must provide not just the reason for the extension, but an estimate of the date the insurer expects the decision-making process to be completed.
  • Insurers must report to DFS weekly on every claim that has been extended past the initial 15 business day decision window. This report will include, among other items, the amount of the claimed loss, the reason needed for the insurer's extension, the number of extensions the insurer already has utilized, and the expected date for its decision.
  • Notification to claimants of what documents and forms will be needed to complete the claim must now be provided in a written, detailed document.