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ISSUED 1/21/2004 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORK STATE ENCOURAGES CONSUMERS TO 'GET SMART ABOUT HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE'

Superintendent in Syracuse Today to Encourage New Yorkers to Review Their Policies

Superintendent of Insurance Gregory V. Serio will be in Syracuse today to promote ‘Get Smart About Insurance Week’ and highlight the need for all New Yorkers to review their homeowners or renter’s insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage.

"Today, the Department encourages New Yorkers to do a homeowner’s insurance policy ‘check-up,’" said Serio. "The annual homeowners insurance check-up comes at an important time of year, during winter storm season, when all New Yorkers should make sure that they are properly covered in case of a damaging winter storm."

Each day this week, the Department is providing information on a different insurance coverage to persuade New Yorkers to review their insurance policies to ensure proper coverage. Today, during the Superintendent’s visit to Syracuse he will deliver the Governor’s Proclamation of ‘Get Smart About Insurance Week’ to Mark Hagan, Treasurer Kathy Weinheimer, Senior Vice President of Industry Relations and Nancy Pizzuti, President of Central NY, both of Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of New York (IIABNY).

The Proclamation reads:

"WHEREAS, all Americans feel the protecting arm of some form of insurance coverage and find great solace in that assurance when adversity strikes their insurance policy is their first line of help with financial recovery; and

WHEREAS, the vibrant New York State insurance marketplace offers a wide array of various types of insurance and levels of coverage at affordable rates; and

WHEREAS, the New York State Insurance Department, in cooperation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners suggests that January is a good time of year for consumers to schedule annual insurance "check-ups" with their agent, broker or insurance carrier;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, George E. Pataki, Governor of New York State, do hereby proclaim January 19, 2004 thru January 23,2004 as GET SMART ABOUT INSURANCE WEEK in the Empire State."

"Agents and brokers, who work directly with the insurance consumers, are ideal resources of insurance information. It is through combined efforts that the Department, along with IIABNY, New Yorkers may avail themselves of a plethora of insurance information and be advised as to proper and adequate coverage," said Serio. "I encourage New Yorkers to utilize the Department’s resources and resources at IIABNY when reviewing their policies. We are here to help you get smart about your insurance."

New Yorkers are encouraged to educate themselves about homeowners and renters insurance by calling the Department or visiting the Department’s "Homeowners Insurance Resource Center" on the Web site for free tips and up-to-date information. The Department also offers a free publication, "Consumer Shopping Guide for Homeowners and Tenants Insurance."

Important reminders when reviewing one’s homeowners insurance coverage include:

  • Insurance policies are legal documents. Read them carefully.
  • Keep your insurance policy readily accessible, along with the phone number of your insurance agent.
  • Homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage to your home as a result of such perils as wind and falling objects.
  • Flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowners policies, but it available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Homeowner’s policies for coastal area residents may have a separate windstorm deductible. Damage to automobiles from falling objects is covered if your automobile policy has comprehensive physical damage coverage for the damaged vehicle.
  • To assist in proving a claim to your insurer, it is important to keep a written inventory of household possessions, receipts for the purchase of items, and/or a videotape or photographs of your household and possessions. It is a good idea to keep a duplicate of these records including your policy off site such as with a friend or relative or a safe deposit box. That way if the premises are a total loss or not accessible for an extended period you will have access to your records.

The New York State Insurance Department is participating in the national Get Smart About Insurance Week campaign, sponsored by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to remind New Yorkers of the importance of proper insurance coverage. For more information on Get Smart About Insurance Week or, to request a consumer brochure and get information about what they need and should expect from insurance coverage, consumers can call the New York State Insurance Department’s toll-free hotline 1-800-342-3736 or visit the Department’s Web sites at is www.ins.state.ny.us. Additionally, consumers can visit www.healthyny.com for information on Healthy NY or www.captivesny.com for information on corporate self-insurance programs.

 

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