Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell and Governor Andrew Cuomo have each recently announced the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) issued an emergency regulation amending Regulation 64 and requiring New York-regulated insurers to accelerate the resolution and payment of insurance claims by businesses and individuals who suffered damage as a result of looting. The emergency regulation are based on similar emergency relief applied in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy. The announcement is linked here.
DFS is aware that New York-regulated insurers have written policies that may be triggered by property damage resulting from looting that has occurred throughout the state. DFS expects the insurance industry to timely respond to these claims, stating that it is imperative that insurers, as well as agents and brokers, work towards fair and speedy resolutions of claims.
“DFS expects New York’s insurance industry to cooperate fully in expediting property damage claims due to looting, to allow claimants, including main street small businesses and households, to rebuild and recover,” said Superintendent Lacewell. “Regulated insurers have an obligation to move quickly, and this action will facilitate the effective processing and resolution of claims.”
In Summary, DFS’ emergency regulation requires New York-regulated insurers to:
- Promptly process and investigate insurance claims made by policyholders;
- Allow policyholders to make immediate repairs to damaged property if necessary to protect health or safety, and to submit claims with reasonable proof such as photographs or video recordings; and
- Offer small businesses and consumers the option to resolve disputes through an impartial mediation process paid for by the applicable insurer.
This Part shall apply to all insurers licensed to do business in this State. While Regulation 64 and the emergency amendments to the Regulation , thus, do not apply to excess line insurers, notably, under 11 CRR-NY 216.2(e), Regulation 64 does “apply to an unauthorized insurer with respect to a group policy issued pursuant to section 3455 of the Insurance Law,” Transportation network company group insurance policies. Moreover, insurers and producers should be flexible in accepting evidence of claims, recognizing that affected New York policyholders may be limited in their ability to document claims due to the ongoing burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential continuing unrest. Finally, insurers and producers are encouraged to assist policyholders with helpful information regarding emergency aid, tips for damage prevention, and resources for remediating damage.