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Press Release

July 27, 2017

Contact: Richard Loconte, 212-709-1691

FINANCIAL SERVICES SUPERINTENDENT MARIA T. VULLO REMINDS INSURERS OF OBLIGATION TO RESOLVE FLOOD CLAIMS QUICKLY AND FAIRLY

DFS Calls on Insurers to Assist Policyholders with Emergency Information, and Tips and Resources for Damage Prevention and Remediation

Superintendent Vullo Also Urges Prompt Action by Congress on National Flood Insurance Program

As part of New York’s continuing response to flooding in the Lake Ontario region, Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo today announced that the Department of Financial Services (DFS) is reminding property and casualty insurers of their responsibility to work toward fair and speedy resolution of claims, due to the severity of the situation and extent of damage to both homeowners and businesses. While most homeowners and business owners’ policies do not cover floods, the circular letter issued by DFS calls on insurers to fulfill their obligations as good corporate citizens in New York State by assisting policyholders with helpful information regarding emergency aid, tips for damage prevention, and resources for remediating damage, regardless of whether damage is covered.

Superintendent Vullo is also calling on Congress to immediately reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) prior to expiration on September 30 and include the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act in the legislation to facilitate the growth of the state-regulated private flood market. Reauthorization would help avoid short-term extensions and program lapses that create uncertainty in the insurance, housing and lending markets.

“DFS will continue to ensure that home and business owners threatened by the flooding receive the help, information and support they need,” said Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo. “These recent events also highlight how critical it is for Congress to immediately reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires to provide certainty for policyholders. DFS also joins state insurance commissioners across the nation in supporting the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, which encourages greater growth in the private flood insurance market as a complement to the NFIP, and provides consumers with more options for coverage which could lead to more affordable prices.”

The DFS guidance reminds all carriers covering homes or businesses in the areas affected by the flooding of the following:

  • Carriers are required to increase their resources to ensure proper treatment of their policyholders during this State of Emergency;
  • Carriers and their third-party adjusters must promptly assess claims;
  • Affected policyholders are entitled to fair and equitable claim settlement treatment under the New York Insurance Law and Regulations;
  • Carriers must not deny claims caused by multiple perils when not all perils are covered under the applicable policy; and
  • The Department expects timely payments of claims that arise out of covered perils.

Consumers can find additional information about flood insurance on the DFS website. Homeowners and business owners in the Lake Ontario region in need of assistance can also call the DFS Disaster Hotline at (800) 339-1759.

A copy of the circular letter sent today to insurers can be found here.

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