New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 10/03/2002

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW PILOT PROGRAM TO REDUCE ELECTRICAL FIRES
Electrical Repair Grant Program Will Reduce Potential of Fires in Older Homes

          Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio and New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA) president, Joseph A. Calvo today announced a new pilot program to repair electrical problems in 100 older homes across the state. The program is aimed at those who are not financially able to independently fund electrical repairs or improvements in order to eliminate hazards that could potentially cause fires.

          "As a former Fire Chief I have seen first-hand the devastating effects of electrical fires," said Serio. "I applaud NYPIUA for initiating this pilot program that will help 100 of New York’s families and individuals that need it most. These grants will give policyholders the peace of mind that they will be less likely to fall victim to electrical hazards."

          "Through a variety of educational programs, NYPIUA is committed to helping its policyholders identify and eliminate electrical hazards in their homes," said Joseph A. Calvo, president of NYPIUA. "We are hopeful that over time this pilot program will expand, enabling more people to protect their lives and property from fires by making necessary repairs and improvements to their electrical systems."

          A study of NYPIUA fire claims occurring in 1999 for building losses in excess of $2,000 showed that nearly twenty-five percent of the fires were electrical in origin. The pilot grant program is aimed at eliminating electrical hazards in the homes of NYPIUA policyholders through grants and an educational campaign. The outreach campaign will include the mailing of an educational video on home safety and a safety checklist to identify specific problems in the home. Videos will be sent to over 34,000 policyholders of owner-occupied dwellings.

          NYPIUA policyholders that are owner occupants of one or two-family dwellings that have had continuous coverage for over five policy terms are eligible. Joint owners of property may apply if all individuals named on the deed are residents at the property. The grants will be limited to $1,500 per applicant and will be offered on a dollar-for-dollar "matching funds" basis. Applications will be reviewed on a first come basis and the first hundred applications deemed eligible and in compliance with established criteria by the review committee of NYPIUA executives will receive the grants.

          The mission of the pilot program is to address the needs of those who would not be able to make repairs or improvements due to income limitation; and, therefore income will be a basic consideration of eligibility. To qualify for the program an applicant’s family income cannot exceed eighty percent of median family income. All policyholders that potentially meet the specifications of the pilot program will receive notice of the program and eligibility criteria.

          NYPIUA is a pool of all insurance companies writing fire insurance in New York State. It offers fire and extended coverage, as well as coverage for vandalism, malicious mischief, and sprinkler leakage to consumers who are unable to purchase this type of insurance from individual insurance companies. It does not offer theft or liability insurance. NYPIUA’s Web site is www.nypiua.com.


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