New York-regulated insurers were ordered today to accelerate the resolution and payment of insurance claims by businesses and individuals who suffered damage as a result of looting.
The state Department of Financial Services issued the emergency regulation requiring speedy payment of claims. It followed Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s announcement and is based on similar emergency relief applied in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
New York City, in particular, has been one of the flashpoints in nationwide protests following the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer forced him to the pavement with a knee to Floyd's neck.
DFS "expects the insurance industry to do its part to support New York businesses and individuals that are suffering from the compounding effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and the looting," the agency said in a news release. "In this situation, it is imperative that insurers, as well as agents and brokers, work towards fair and speedy resolutions of claims."
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.
“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 DFS Superintendent Linda Lacewell. “Regulated insurers have an obligation to move quickly, and this action will facilitate the effective processing and resolution of claims.”
Insurers and producers should also recognize 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, the release said.
In addition, insurers and producers should assist policyholders with helpful information regarding emergency aid, tips for damage prevention, and resources for remediating damage.