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PIANY's Henry J. Kaye meets with 17 WNY lawmakers on key issues

BUFFALO, N.Y.–Henry J. Kaye, CIC, of Amherst, N.Y., past president of the Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc., met with a number of local lawmakers throughout the Western New York region on key issues. PIANY is working on behalf of local independent agents, their businesses and their clients for the passage of a comprehensive legislative agenda in 2010, which includes: repealing mandatory photo inspections; raising automobile surcharge thresholds; and standardizing windstorm triggers.

"PIANY appreciates the time each of these lawmakers took to meet with us. The issues we discussed have a major impact on the New York state economy. Western New Yorks businesses and homeowners need affordable insurance; by keeping our local legislators aware of our needs, we can help ensure that these concerns are addressed throughout the year," said Kaye.

Kaye was joined at the meetings by several other PIA representatives, including PIANY Directors Eric Clauss and Tony Kubera, as well as the following members: Jim Kearns, Dale Peter, John Petruzzi (New York Young Insurance Professionals member) and Bill Scott III.

PIANYs legislative priorities are of particular importance to the insurance-buying public throughout New York state. The associations key goals for the year are as follows:

  • The repeal of mandatory photo inspections. Currently, insurers must require these inspections, which call for photos to be taken of a car before collision or comprehensive insurance is issued. Though originally intended to reduce insurance fraud, the requirement represents an onerous burden for the insured, as failure to obtain an inspection, with sometimes as little as five days notice, can result in a lapse of physical damage coverage. Methods for verifying and tracking the existence and physical condition of vehicles have improved greatly since the regulation was enacted, making the regulation antiquated and unnecessary.
  • Raise the minimum threshold for automobile surcharges. This legislation would raise the minimum threshold of property damage that, if exceeded in a motor vehicle accident, would allow an insurer to impose a policy premium surcharge. The threshold was established more than a decade ago and should be updated to reflect inflation. The new law would double the amount from $1,000 to $2,000.
  • Standardize homeowners insurance windstorm triggers. Windstorm coverage requires classifications of wind damage in order for a policy to coverage damage, related to specific "trigger" events. However, these "triggers" differ from policy to policy, potentially leaving gaps for insurance consumers. The development of uniform hurricane deductible triggers is something that must be addressed before we witness the consequences that will occur the next time a catastrophic event hits New Yorks coastal areas.

Kaye has met with the following area legislators: Assemblyman Daniel J. Burling, R-147; Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, R-142; Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, D-138; Assemblyman Dennis H. Gabryszak, D-143; Assemblyman Joe Giglio, D-149; Assemblyman James P. Hayes, R-148; Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, R-139; Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-144; Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-62; Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples, D-141; Assemblyman Jack Quinn, R-146; Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-61; Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, D-140; Assemblyman Mark J. F. Schroeder, D-145; Sen. William Stachowski, D-58; Sen. Dale Volker, R59; and Sen. Catherine M. Young, D-57.

PIANY is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.