New York Agents Urge Defeat of Auto Insurance Reform Bills

June 18, 2010

A trade group for New York agents is urging lawmakers to defeat a bill it says would weaken the state’s no-fault auto insurance system by expanding juries’ role in deciding whether a lawsuit can proceed.

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New York (IIABNY) said the legislation would also expand the types of injuries for which a person hurt in an auto accident could sue the person responsible. It would also remove require juries, rather than judges, to decide whether and injured party can sue another.

The measures — Assembly bill A10739 and Senate bill S7518 — were introduced by Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-Staten Island) and Sen. Antoine M. Thompson (D-parts of Erie and Niagara Counties).

According to IIABNY, the legislation broadens the law’s definition of serious injury to include injuries such as torn muscles, less serious neck and back injuries and injuries requiring minor surgery. Also, it would take the judgment over whether an injury meets the law’s definition of “serious injury” away from the judge and give it to a jury. This approach will prevent judges from quickly filtering out lawsuits that do not qualify for exception to the no fault system.

“If this proposal becomes law, minor injuries from fender benders will end up in the courts,” said IIABNY Chairman David M. Gelia. “This will delay recoveries for the injured, bog down New York’s already overburdened court system, increase the cost of handling these claims and eventually result in higher auto insurance premiums for every vehicle owner in the state of New York… We believe New York’s no fault insurance system can and should be improved with common-sense reforms. This legislation is a major step in the wrong direction.”


Source: IIABNY

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