September 24, 2021
ACTING SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES ADRIENNE A. HARRIS ANNOUNCES NEW CONSUMER PROTECTIONS IN NEW YORK’S PUBLIC ADJUSTERS REGULATION
Follows Acting Superintendent Harris’ Visit to Tropical Depression Ida Recovery Centers in Westchester County
Strengthens Consumers’ Rights in Insurance Claims Process
New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) Acting Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris today announced new consumer protections in New York’s public adjusters regulation, which will become effective October 8. The protections help insureds by clearly defining the duties of insurers and public adjusters hired by insureds to negotiate insurance claim settlements on their behalf.
“A fair insurance claims process is especially important to help New Yorkers rebuild and recover after extreme weather events,” said Acting Superintendent Adrienne A. Harris. “These new consumer protections require public adjusters to act in the best interest of the insureds who hire them, and insurers to work with their insureds and public adjusters to promptly resolve claims.”
DFS’s addition of consumer protections to New York’s public adjusters regulation follows increasingly frequent extreme weather events, including historic storms in New York. As New York homeowners and small businesses file insurance claims after disasters, they may hire public adjusters to help with the claims process. DFS’s action further strengthens the duties of public adjusters and insurers to ensure the fair and speedy resolutions of claims.
The new consumer protections include the following:
- An insurer must include the public adjuster in any written or oral communications the insurer initiates with the insured unless instructed otherwise by the insured;
- A public adjuster initiating any mediation, arbitration, or litigation proceeding involving a dispute between an insured and a public adjuster regarding a New York loss must file it in New York and not another jurisdiction;
- A public adjuster may not require an insured to use a specific contractor for repairs;
- A public adjuster must include the fees for any services rendered by an outside expert or consultant retained by the public adjuster in the compensation agreement between the adjuster and the insured;
- An insurer must follow the insured’s direction, subject to the interests of any loss payee or mortgagee, as to who should be named on the insurer’s check; and
- A public adjuster may not condition doing business with an insured on the insured directing the insurer to make a check payable to the public adjuster for the adjuster’s fee.
These protections are effective October 8. For a copy of the amendment to 11 NYCRR 25 (Insurance Regulation 10), visit the DFS website.
As part of DFS’s comprehensive response to Tropical Depression Ida, Acting Superintendent Harris today toured storm damage and met with affected constituents in Westchester County. Acting Superintendent Harris committed to continuing the Departments' assistance to affected communities that has already provided insurance advice in person to more than 1,100 affected New Yorkers, and helped an additional 700 people though DFS’ consumer hotlines.
DFS also issued guidance to insurers requiring them to increase their resources to service impacted consumers and reminding them of their obligations to provide fair and prompt claim settlement treatment. In addition, DFS expedited the issuance of temporary permits to qualified out-of-state independent insurance adjusters so that more adjusters are available to process claims and help get consumers’ property repaired and claims paid.