New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 6/12/2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DEPARTMENT UNVEILS ON-LINE CREDENTIALING FOR INSURERS AS PART OF DISASTER RESPONSE INITIATIVE
Electronic Licensing Will Accelerate Insurer Response to Consumers in Need

           Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio today announced that the Department has launched a new electronic initiative designed to allow insurers to complete applications for temporary adjusters’ permits on-line in the event of a state emergency or disaster. This new program will avail insurance company adjuster’s quicker access to disaster areas in order to accelerate the payment of disaster victims’ insurance claims.

            "In the unfortunate event of a disaster, New Yorkers should feel confident that they will receive the services and support they need in a timely and effective manner. We are committed to doing our part - making the insurance industry as responsive and helpful in what can be a very difficult time," Serio said. "By providing access to temporary adjuster permits for the industry on-line, adjusters will be allowed quicker access to the scene of the disaster to ensure faster recovery payments for consumers in their time of need."

            The new electronic licensing allows insurance companies to complete the Department’s application for temporary adjuster’s permits on-line and then email it to the Department for electronic approval. The Department will review the application on-line and submit the approval or denial via email. If an approval is made, the temporary adjuster permit can be printed out from the computer. Before this electronic licensing system was put in place, in the event that additional adjusters were needed on the site of a disaster, insurance companies would have to submit paperwork to the Department for approval and the Department would respond via mail with an approval or denial of the request.

            Electronic access to this special temporary adjuster permit will afford adjusters quicker access to devastated areas where they can assess the amount of destruction and subsequently provide critical guidance for the strategic commitment and deployment of public and private assets. These electronic permits will be recognized by law enforcement and other emergency management officials that may be prohibiting access to the affected scene.

            This electronic initiative is part of a new Disaster Management Coalition that was announced by Governor Pataki last month created to enhance New York State’s disaster response and recovery efforts. The coalition developed the New York State Insurance Disaster Response Plan, which establishes points of contact with insurance companies during a disaster, a communications network, and requires insurers to submit disaster contingency plans to the Insurance Department. In addition to the Insurance Department this catastrophe management team is made up of individuals from the State Emergency Management Office, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Institute for Business and Home Safety, and individual insurance companies, trade industry, and voluntary agency representatives.

            "This on-line licensee credentialing illustrates our commitment to utilizing the latest in internet technology to better respond to New Yorkers in their time of crisis," added Serio. "This new system reduces paperwork and increases turn around time, getting additional adjusters to the scene expeditiously."

            As part of the new Disaster Management Coalition, the Department has launched an Emergency Disaster Information section on the Web site. Consumers and insurers will find important up-to-date information on catastrophe management, including mitigation techniques, the most recent weather information, assessments, emergency contact lists and the necessary credentialing material for insurer entry to disaster areas. The Web site address for the special section is www.ins.state.ny.us/disaster.htm.


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