IIANY Feb. 4 Legislative Day Presents ‘Window of Opportunity’

February 3, 2003

More than 200 members of the Independent Insurance Agents Association of New York are set to meet with the state’s legislators in Albany at the Empire State Plaza Tuesday to seek solutions to “some of the state’s most pressing insurance market problems.”

The IIANY members, representing every region of the state and every type of business and personal insurance consumer see the meeting(s) as presenting a “window of opportunity” in efforts to resolve some of the state’s pressing insurance concerns through legislative action.

“Foremost among the issues agents will address with legislators are the rapidly declining state of the liability insurance market serving New York building contractors and the re-establishment of legal provisions providing flexibility in setting rates, as well as canceling and non-renewing auto insurance policies,” said an IIANY bulletin. “The agents will also seek legislative support for proposed measures crafted to substantially reduce fraud plaguing the state’s no-fault auto insurance system and additional reforms of New York’s workers’ compensation system.”

“After the legislative gridlock we experienced in 2002, we can’t afford to wait much longer for the Senate and Assembly to reach agreement on these issues,” John Costello, IIAANY chairman, said. “The upcoming debate over the state budget threatens to cast a huge shadow over the Capitol. Thus, it is especially important that our members from all around the state will be in Albany Feb. 4 to encourage our representatives to bring some relief to New Yorkers overburdened by rising insurance costs and a growing scarcity of coverage options.”

Of special interest are measures, recently passed by the Senate, to reintroduce the so-called “2-Percent Rule,” which allows auto insurers to cancel or non-renew up to 2 percent of their policies within a defined geographic area without the prior approval of the Insurance Department, and provisions allowing insurers to lower or raise auto insurance rates up to 7 percent without prior department approvals.

Both bills are now awaiting action in the Assembly. The announcement stressed that “Before they sunset in August 2001, the two laws worked well in stabilizing New York’s auto insurance market.”

Also on the legislative agenda is an anti-fraud package, strongly supported by IIAANY. There are also as yet unformed proposals to amend the state Labor Law to strengthen the liability insurance market for building contractors and to institute additional cost-controls on New York’s workers’ compensation system.

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