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New York, January 22, 1998

Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today urged insurance companies to exercise care and responsible judgment in handling claims and when considering cancellations or non-renewals of policies for late or overdue premiums or other reasons for those policyholders in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties that were victimized by the recent ice storms.

If insurers do not act cooperatively, the Superintendent has the authority to declare a moratorium precluding termination of policies or otherwise adjust provisions relating to their cancellation or non-renewal.

The Insurance Department issued its directive to insurance companies in Circular Letter Number 3 (1998).

"This is a trying time for those New York residents that were hit by the ice storm. I urge insurers to show concern and empathy for their policyholders who are living in a state of emergency," said Superintendent Levin. "As we get more feedback from the toll-free phone lines we have set up to assist the ice storm victims with their insurance questions and claims, I will determine whether or not it will be necessary for me to exercise my emergency authority. I expect that insurers will continue to be cooperative and understanding."

The Insurance Department has activated a special toll-free hotline to assist victims of the ice storm with their insurance questions and claims. The phone number is 1-800-339-1759. Consumers can also receive help by calling the Department’s regular toll-free telephone number at 1-800-342-3736. The Department will also be posting information on its website ( to further assist storm victims.

The Department is also sending employees from its Consumer Services Bureau to help staff Disaster Recovery Centers in the affected region. The staff will be available to help storm victims file insurance claims and offer other assistance as needed.


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