Assembly Insurance Chair Cahill Holds Roundtable Discussions on Coverage in the Event of Disaster

New York – Assembly Insurance Committee Chair Kevin Cahill (D – Ulster, Dutchess) held two roundtable discussions today in Brooklyn and Staten Island as a follow up to the Committee’s six and a half hour hearing to examine the claims settlement practices of insurers related to Superstorm Sandy that took place on February 26, 2013. The two events brought together representatives from the Department of Financial Services, insurance agents and brokers, public and independent adjusters, community representatives and major insurance companies to provide insight to the delays in claims and processing payments, inadequacy of settlement offers and the complexities of insurance policies.

“Our previous hearing was essential for us to understand the challenges that policy holders faced, and today’s roundtables provided us with a valuable, in depth look at some of the major issues that residential and commercial consumers struggled with during the disaster. This information will help us to craft meaningful, comprehensive policy to allow for a smoother path to recovery in the event of future storms,” said Cahill.

“Many homes and businesses in Brooklyn are still shuttered as a result of Superstorm Sandy. This situation is simply unacceptable for those who have faithfully paid high premiums for their insurance coverage. As we move forward it is critical that we make sure that insurance companies do a better job of coming through with the assistance they are paid to provide,” said Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz (D- Brooklyn).

“This roundtable meeting allowed for a free flowing discussion that provided specific problems resulting from Hurricane Sandy that can be address by the Assembly. This event produced a number of subcategories that will tackle how insurance companies operate, the continuing education of agents, a consumer bill of rights, and better ways to communicate to consumers what is in their policy. This roundtable discussion will prove to be fruitful,” said Assemblymember Michael Cusick (D- Staten Island).

“Brooklynites who faithfully paid their premiums, some for decades, deserve a claims process that is equitable, fair, and timely. Today's round-table helped to facilitate a discussion between insurers, policyholders and lawmakers which will help enable meaningful change including, we hope, transformation of the way insurance companies operate statewide," said Assemblymember Helene Weinstein (D- Brooklyn).

“As not only a Member of the Assembly, but also a homeowner whose house was severely damaged because of Superstorm Sandy, I understand firsthand the frustration that resulted in dealing with the insurance agencies. As a paying customer you expect a certain standard of cooperation and assistance, and in some cases this was simply not met. I hope that as a result of this round-table we can go forward and ensure that these issues are addressed and that the next time we are faced with a similar crisis the insurance companies will be prepared to provide the appropriate assistance,” said Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny (D- Brooklyn).

“Finding solutions to help New Yorkers be prepared for disasters and helping them recover quicker and more completely is our goal. These meetings provide knowledge and experiences statistics cannot,” Cahill concluded.