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ISSUED: 2/14/2001 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LEVIN ANNOUNCES GROUNDBREAKING ON-LINE ASSISTANCE TO CONSUMERS

First Governmental Agency in Country to Offer Live Interaction For Visitors to Department’s Web Site

 Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today announced that the Department is offering consumers the opportunity to be engaged by a Department Representative to assist in their search of information when they visit the New York State Insurance Department Web site. The Department is the first governmental agency in the country to utilize this Customer Service Application which combines the Department’s consumer services function with the latest in technology.

"The Department’s use of this new, enhanced customer support framework will provide improved responsiveness to meet the needs of New York State consumers. Our Web site has a wealth of important information for consumers and the use of this application will assist consumers in finding the information they need in a more timely fashion," said Levin. "We anticipate great success as this innovative technology is utilized and it is an important step as we continue to strive to make our Web site even more consumer friendly."

Here is how the application will work:

  • Visitors to our Web site may be engaged by a Department employee (NetRep) and asked whether they would like to be helped via a chat session on weekdays from 9:00am - 5:00pm.
  • Those who accept the offer will be guided through the Site to help get the desired information.
  • NetReps will, as much as possible, refer visitors to pages on the Site that contain the information they need, rather than answering questions directly.
  • If the content does not exist on the Site, the visitor will be sent a message directing them to the Department’s Consumer Services toll-free telephone number.

"The Department is committed to remaining at the forefront of technology utilization and the application of this software, designed by heyinc., enables us to assist even more New York State residents by offering this additional avenue of access to our consumer services," added Levin.

This latest application is an enhancement to the Department’s consumer-friendly site. Features of the Web site include:

  • Quick access to consumer guides, Department contacts and consumer hotlines, and current Department news;
  • Access via e-mail for inquiries and general insurance related questions;
  • Access to our Consumer page with just one click;
  • List of all the toll-free hotlines available on the site;
  • Links to licensed insurers, rating service AM Best, news site Insure.com, other state and federal agencies, and resources such as the National Flood Insurance Program;
  • "Resource" centers for health, auto, life, frauds and homeowners insurance;
  • Small Business Corner with various resources on types of insurance commonly purchased by small business owners and links to web sites to assist business owners in making decisions about various insurance issues;
  • Electronic access to Department of Motor Vehicle codes, which allows consumers to immediately obtain the name, address and phone number of the insurer that corresponds to the code; and
  • Access to all disciplinary actions taken by the Department against agents and brokers and companies – giving consumers necessary information to help them choose an agent, broker, or insurance company.

In 2000, the New York State Insurance Department Web site, www.ins.state.ny, was awarded an ‘A’ by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) in its ranking of State Insurance Department Web sites.

 

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