New York State
James J. Wrynn Superintendent of Insurance 25 Beaver Street New York, N.Y. 10004
|ISSUED 12/16/2009||FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
The New York State Insurance Department recently directed State Farm Insurance Company to give 113 Long Island property owners the opportunity to renew their homeowners’ policies with the company.
The action came as the result of a complaint filed by one of the homeowners and a subsequent Insurance Department inquiry. The homeowner said State Farm advised him that it would not renew his policy because the company was reducing its exposure to potential losses in coastal areas.
However, the Insurance Department found that the company acted improperly because the notice failed to advise the homeowner of the availability of coverage through the New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association (NYPIUA). The notice also failed to provide contact information for the Coastal Market Assistance Program (C-MAP). C-Map is administered by NYPIUA to help homeowners obtain insurance in coastal areas.
The Insurance Department’s investigation of the individual homeowner’s complaint led to the discovery that the same improper non-renewal notice had been sent to 112 other Long Islanders.
“The Insurance Department continues to monitor the situation on Long Island to make sure that insurance remains available and that the rules are followed when insurers reduce their exposure. Homeowners have specific rights when policies are non-renewed. Insurers must honor those rights by following the proper procedures,” Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said.
Long Island’s susceptibility to coastal storms has led some larger insurers to reduce their exposure to potential losses by non-renewing some homeowners. Under the law, insurers are permitted to non-renew up to four percent of their homeowners’ policies annually on a statewide basis.
When non-renewals occur:
Insurers are not required to send notices by registered mail, but they must maintain proof that the notice was mailed in a manner that satisfied the 45/60 day window.
What should homeowners do when policies are non-renewed? Here are a few things to consider:
Wrynn advised homeowners to take advantage of Insurance Department resources by reviewing information on the Department’s website. Homeowners unable to resolve disputes with insurers should contact the Department. Complaints may be filed using the website, http://www.ins.state.ny.us, or by contacting the Consumer Services Bureau from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday toll-free at 800-342-3736.