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PIANY officers meet with legislators in Albany

GLENMONT, N.Y.-Donna Chiapperino, president, Richard Savino, president-elect, and Bruce Rowledge of The Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc., met with local lawmakers in Albany yesterday on key issues affecting independent insurance agents in New York state. They met with the following area legislators: Brian Murphy, counsel for Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-1; Sen. Jack Martins, R-7; Sen. Andrew Lanza, R-24; Sen. Neil Breslin, D-46; Sen. James Seward, R-51; Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, D-73; Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, D-87; Chris Bresnan, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-94; Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun, R-96; Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, D-106; Assemblyman Brian Kolb, R-129; and Assemblyman Joe Morelle, D-132.

PIANY is working on behalf of local independent agents, their businesses and their clients for the passage of a comprehensive legislative agenda in 2011, which includes: repealing mandatory photo inspections, standardizing windstorm triggers, requiring uniformity of certificates of insurance subject of approval of the New York State Insurance Department; and increasing tools to fight auto fraud.

"PIANY has been having conversations with lawmakers for many years, sharing ideas and solutions that benefit the New York insurance consumer," said Chiapperino. "I appreciate the time and consideration these legislators have provided and we will continue to work with them to help ensure that these concerns are addressed throughout the year."

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.
  • 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.
  • Require certificates of insurance to be filed and approved by the NYSID. Insurance producers often are asked to complete certificates of insurance forms that add terms or clauses that are not contained in an actual policy. Seeking to prevent parties from insisting on the creation of unique and highly problematic certificates, which potentially mislead policyholders or those who request them about the coverage that is in place, PIA seeks legislation to require that certificates of insurance must be filed with and approved by the superintendent of insurance and standardized through industry authorities.
  • Reform no-fault. Steep increases in no-fault fraud continue to plague New York state. As a result, the costs associated with fraud and abuse of the states no-fault system are ultimately borne by policyholders, our members clients, and are now the second highest in the country. Nonetheless, New Yorks no-fault system remains sound public policy and a viable system to ensure that injured policyholders claims are paid in an effective and efficient manner. The time has come, once again, for substantive change of the no-fault system though both legislation and regulation. PIANY supports changes to New Yorks laws and regulations to fight the epidemic of insurance fraud that is attacking the states no-fault system.

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