NAII Calls Recently Ended N.Y. Legislative Session ‘Disappointing’

June 25, 2003

The National Association of Independent Insurers, commenting on the recently concluded session of the New York state legislature, which adjourned last week, said that it had “turned out to be a disappointing session for the insurance industry.”

“We’re very discouraged that once again our efforts to move the Senate bill to extend flex rating and two percent nonrenewal failed in the face of politics,” stated NAII assistant general counsel Gerald L. Zimmerman. “However, the legislature is expected to come back again in the fall, and we are hoping to be more successful then.”

The NAII discussed the overall session and the results (See also IJ Website June 23 and 24), concluding that “the most contentious insurance issue was the effort to pass the so-called ‘extenders’ bill, designed to reintroduce seven percent flex rating and two percent nonrenewal for insurers.” The Assembly failed to pass a similar measure last year.

“This year, insurers pinned their hopes on a Senate bill extending the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA), the state’s property insurance pool which legally expired in April. The Senate passed S.B. 5700, which extends NYPIUA for a year, and decoupled two percent from flex rating and passed two percent nonrenewal for three years. The passed version also brought back the sunset excess profits law,” said the NAII.

It blamed “bad blood” created by a dispute over rent control between the Senate and the Assembly for torpedoing the flex rating extender provision. “Once again, Chairman Grannis, played hide the ball and this year he wanted a so-called consumer advocate position at the SID in exchange for flex rating,” Zimmerman observed. “He would not back down on the flex extender, although the Senate worked until the last minute to obtain a compromise with him.”

The NAII also noted the following legislative actions:
— S.B. 5377, a file and serve bill, finally passed the Senate. However, the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) objected to the bill and it failed in the Assembly.

— The failure of “several onerous bills,” notably – S.B. 1486a, dealing with private cause of action; S.B. 896a, a so called “toxic” mold study bill; S.B. 5570, which would have provided PIP benefits for drunk drivers; A.B. 4754, which would have banned the use of credit scoring; A.B. 9090, a bill to extend the statute of limitations on 9/11 claims and require insurers to notify claimants concerning the extension; and A.B. 8702, which would have increased the cost of obtaining medical records.

— S.B. 4633b/A.B.6964b, the agent notification of cancellation bill, was substantially amended to allow for electronic notice and failure to give notice will now not nullify an otherwise valid cancellation.

“We recognize that many are very disappointed with what happened early on with the budget, and that disappointment is now almost palpable with the extender bill that finally passed,” Zimmerman continued. “The NAII worked very hard on these concerns, and we will continue with these efforts when the legislature reconvenes in the fall.”

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