November 30, 2012 — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new rules to help expedite the processing of Hurricane Sandy insurance claims and hold companies accountable for their actions. Gov. Cuomo and the Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued an executive order yesterday to announce a new grading system and regulations.
The 24 insurance companies in New York will now be required to address claims within 6 days instead of the standard 15 days. In order to meet the demand for insurance adjustors, Governor Cuomo will allow qualified out-of-state public adjustors to receive temporary licenses in the state.
The order will also clarify that property owners are allowed to make repairs that are necessary for health and safety. These repairs may include hot water heaters, heating systems, electrical repairs, and more. Minor permanent repairs may also be allowed (for example, fixing a wall to retain heat). Homeowners are normally required to wait for their insurance company to offer a settlement before they can make permanent repairs to their home.
The new rules will prohibit insurance companies from canceling policies for any reason — including non-payment of insurance premiums — until December 15, 2012.
Insurance companies also have an incentive to perform well, because they will be graded on their performance. DFS will evaluate each of the 24 insurance companies based on the number of claims they receive, the time it takes to investigate and settle the claims, and the percentage of claims that prompt complaints.
Consumers will be able to go online and see how their insurance company performed compared to other companies in the state.
After issuing the order, Governor Cuomo issued this statement:
“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it is vital that New Yorkers receive their claim settlements as soon as possible, so that they can rebuild their homes, businesses and lives. There simply is no substitute for speed when it comes to insurance payouts after a storm. We must do everything possible to make sure we hold insurance companies accountable to their customers. Today’s actions do just that.”