2013-06-14 / Top Stories

Sandy Insurance Bill Passes Assembly

A “Sandy Insurance Bill,” which will create transparency and keep insurance companies accountable has passed the Assembly. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, will require insurers to clearly outline their policy and create accountability to protect the rights of homeowners and small-businesses in the event of another natural disaster.

"In the destructive aftermath of Sandy, many homeowners were shocked when their insurance companies denied claims for damages that should have been covered under their insurance policies,” said Goldfeder in a media release. “Insurers would not cover damages simply because they occurred simultaneously with an event such as severe flooding, which is excluded under the majority of homeowner policies— leaving too many families without appropriate insurance coverage at a time when they so desperately needed the help. This common practice by insurance companies is unacceptable and entirely unfair, which is why my legislation will prohibit the denial of these types of claims and help make sure victims of flooding receive the assistance they need for damages beyond their control.”

The bill will prohibit insurance companies from refusing to cover the costs of damages, if a flood has occurred at the same time or was a contributing factor in the covered event. It will also force insurers to clearly tell policy holders what their coverage denies in certain situations.

“Any measure that would provide homeowners more time to get their lives in order and make sound financial decisions would be extremely helpful,” said Jonathan Gaska, District Manager of Community Board 14 in a release.

This bill is just one of many that were passed as part of the Assembly’s insurance reform agenda. Earlier this month, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Insurance Committee Chair Kevin Cahill introduced and helped pass nearly a dozen bills that would reform the recovery and rebuilding process of damages caused by Hurricane Sandy and hold insurance companies accountable.

"Thousands of families and small-businesses in Southern Queens and Rockaway were unprepared for a natural disaster and were unaware of what insurance coverage they owned,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “This legislation will not only help educate our families and small businesses, but keep transparency and accountability for insurance companies a top priority to better strengthen and prepare our communities for the future."

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