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New York State Insurance Department
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

ISSUED 10/26/2005 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, CRIMINAL JUSTICE SERVICES CITED FOR EFFORTS IN COMBATING FRAUD AND REDUCING AUTO RATES

Albany, NY--Ten New York State Insurance Department (NYSID) employees and five from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) were presented today with the Governor’s Office of Employees Relations’ (GOER) Workforce Champions Award, which recognizes New York State employees who have worked together to improve significantly state governmental operations.

The NYSID and the DCJS professionals were honored for their successful efforts to reduce New York State’s automobile insurance rates. The two agencies employed a multi-faceted strategy in recent years to bring cost savings to millions of drivers statewide. The regulatory initiatives included:

  • Reducing to 45 days from 180 days the time in which medical providers must submit claims to insurers for payment and to 30 days from 90 days the timeframe for injured parties to file an injury claim. Both measures closed loopholes in the NYSID’s Regulation 68 that had been exploited for fraud and abuse.
  • Developing a statewide partnership with all 62 county prosecutors, private-sector insurer fraud units and the law enforcement community to attack aggressively no-fault auto fraud in New York State.
  • Bringing price uniformity to the durable medical equipment (e.g., neck braces, walkers) market so that auto insurers pay to the sellers of these devices fees that are now linked to the New York State Medicaid Management Information Provider Manual. Governed under NYSID Regulation 83, the sellers of durable medical equipment had billed auto insurers previously under rules that were open to interpretation.
  • Improving the efficiency of New York’s no-fault arbitration system, which helps to settle no-fault auto disputes between claimants and insurers. The number of pending cases in the arbitration system dropped to 17,053 as of September 2005 when compared to 116,200 that were unresolved in March 2002, a reduction of 85 percent.

Efforts by the NYSID and DCJS began to bear fruit in late 2004 when a few major auto insurers announced they were lowering rates by 5% to 10%. Other auto insurers followed suit in 2005 for their policyholders. As a result of these unprecedented rate reductions, nearly 70% of all New York drivers are expected to save approximately $400 million in auto insurance premiums as of year-end 2005.

The following individuals from the New York Insurance Department were cited for their contributions: August D’Aureli (Deputy Chief Investigator), Gary Anderson (Senior Investigator), Mark Sirkin (Senior Investigator), Arthur Masinski (Senior Investigator), David Hahn (Senior Investigator), Edward Miller (Investigator), Paul Zuckerman (Principal Attorney), Lawrence Fuchsberg (Supervising Attorney), Joseph Smeragliuolo (Supervising Insurance Examiner), and Bruce Green (Supervising Actuary).

The New York State Division of Criminal Services honorees included: Eileen Langer-Smith (Criminal Justice Program Specialist), Jack Donnelly (Criminal Justice Program Representative), John DonVito (Criminal Justice Program Representative), Michael Nardolillo (Criminal Justice Program Representative), and Vicki Milonovich (Criminal Justice Program Aide).

Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills said, “I am extremely proud of the individuals honored today by the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations. GOER’s Workforce Champions Award is one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed upon a New York State agency, and our Insurance Department personnel richly deserve this recognition. Every New Yorker who saved money on their auto insurance premiums should be aware of the hard work these individuals devoted to this effort.”

Director of New York State Criminal Justice Chauncey G. Parker said, “Crime comes in many forms and insurance fraud is one of the toughest to tackle. New York auto insurance rates had been rising for decades and most industry analysts expected the trend to continue. Through aggressive actions, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and New York State Department of Insurance have worked tirelessly and now, in 2005, millions of New York drivers are enjoying the fruits of that labor – an astounding auto premium savings of nearly $400 million.”

GOER also gave Workforce Champion Awards today to the state’s Higher Education Services Corporation, the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, and the Office for the Aging.

Contacts: Jessica Scaperotti, NYS Criminal Justice Services, 212-681-7638; Mike Barry, NYS Insurance Department, 212-480-5262

 

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