New York State
Eric R. Dinallo Superintendent of Insurance 25 Beaver Street New York, N.Y. 10004
|ISSUED 10/31/2007||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
LIBERTY MUTUAL TO OFFER NEW POLICIES TO WRONGLY DROPPED COASTAL HOMEOWNERS
Coastal residents whose homeowners insurance policies had not been renewed by Liberty Mutual partly because they did not have other policies with the company – such as life or automobile coverage – will be offered the opportunity to get new homeowners coverage with Liberty Mutual, Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo announced today. This follows Dinallo’s August 28 directive banning the practice, called “tying.”
“Liberty Mutual is to be commended for acting as a good corporate citizen by promptly complying with the Department’s directive and diligently working to do right by its affected customers,” Dinallo said. “This is an example of how regulation works best, with the industry and regulators working together to reach the best possible outcome for consumers.”
After receiving complaints from some coastal homeowners that their homeowners insurance policies were not being renewed, in part because they did not have an automobile or life insurance policy with the company or an affiliate as of a specific date, Dinallo ruled that it was illegal for insurers to base a decision not to renew homeowners policies on the existence of other business with the company.
Liberty Mutual and Allstate were identified as engaging in the practice. Both companies were directed to cease immediately and offer renewal to any homeowner who had received a non-renewal notice that had not yet taken effect.
“Liberty Mutual immediately rescinded any non-renewals that had not gone into effect, and since then has worked cooperatively with the Insurance Department to fashion a suitable remedy for those who had to find other insurance coverage,” Dinallo said. “Today’s announcement addresses the needs of those whose policies had already terminated.”
Beginning November 5, Liberty Mutual will send letters to these policyholders offering them the right to an immediate quote and renewal of their policies for a period of at least three years. Liberty Mutual plans to contact all 3,305 affected policyholders over a 10-week period.
“Do not cancel your current policy until you carefully review your letter and any quote from Liberty Mutual,” Dinallo urged policyholders. “Liberty Mutual has taken a number of steps to make sure you are treated fairly, but the company’s rates have increased over the past year and its hurricane deductibles have gone up, so you may prefer to keep your current policy. You can also choose to wait until your current policy expires, since this offer will be available for 12 months.”
More information on homeowners insurance, including a consumer shopping guide, is available at the New York State Insurance Department’s website at www.ins.state.ny.us, or by calling toll-free at 1-800-342-3736.
For the Department, handling the case were Deputy Superintendent and General Counsel Robert Easton, Assistant Deputy Superintendents and Counsels Jon Rothblatt and Paul Zuckerman, and Attorney Sapna Maloor, all of the Office of General Counsel; Assistant Deputy Superintendent and Bureau Chief Salvatore Castiglione, Assistant Bureau Chief Mitch Gennaoui and Associate Insurance Examiner John Capuano of the Consumer Services Bureau; and Deputy Bureau Chief Maurice Morgenstern, Assistant Bureau Chief Gerald Scattaglia, Supervising Examiners Peter Harkin and Benita Hirsch, and Senior Examiners Pat Andrews and Peter Wong of the Property Bureau.
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