Updates from the Committee on Catastrophic Natural Disasters

Coastal Insurance Issues Meeting
Mamaroneck, New York – Thursday, May 13, 2010
May 13, 2010

Attendance

George Latimer, NYS Assemblyman, 91st A.D.
Jim Duffy, Eifert, French & Ketchum
Eugene Fulton, The Coughlin Group
John Cofini, Milbrandt & Co., Inc.
JoAnne Murray, Allen M. Block Agency Inc.
Todd Rockefeller, DeRosa, Rockefeller, Sohigian & Werdal Inc.
Steve Rosen, Rosen & Co., Inc.
Mike Vanderwerker, Morris H. Bannister & Son, Inc.

Agenda

1.) WINDSTORM TRIGGERS

The agents highlighted the need to standardize triggers used by insurance companies applying to insurance policies in cases of windstorm occurrence and damage. Each of the carriers applies different standards as to when coverage goes into effect, confusing consumers and brokers. Some decision elements include the minimum category of a storm, “named” storms vs. unnamed storms; timeframe of a storm’s impact; the definition of a coastal area, and so forth. The agents emphasized the need for greater uniformity in applying these principles – ideally, state legislative language that can provide a benchmark guide as incidents arise. Also referenced is the desire to review local land-use laws, especially zoning districts, to reflect the potential liability of construction allowed on, or close to, the shoreline.

2.) WINDSTORM DEDUCTIBLES

The agents framed the difficulties present in insurance policies regarding policy deductibles. Discussion focused on the percentage vs. flat amount options; what is covered under deductibility specifics and other related issues. The concern over results of percentage deductibles generating high dollar volume, based on high-cost damages was identified. No legislation is pending in this area at present; some attendees felt this issue would impact mortgage coverage and provisions.

3.) WEISENBERG LEGISLATION (A.4847)

The bill by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D - Nassau County), A.4847, was discussed. Amendments are under discussion which would, according to the agents, improve the bill; Michael Barrett of Barrett & Associates will provide the Assemblyman with the amendments. Concern was also expressed over the time-frame outlined for implementation.

4.) MARKET AVAILABILITY

The agents opined that Westchester currently has an open market – contrasting with Long Island – but coastal zip codes in Westchester are seeing higher percentage deductibles. The concerns of a shrinking insurance market availability may apply in the future not only to Westchester, but to the Five Boroughs of New York City, as well.

NEXT ACTION STEPS

Assemblyman Latimer summarized the following steps to this meeting:

1.) Albany meeting with Michael Barrett regarding A.4847 amendments, and possible language for windstorm triggers;

2.) Draft minutes of meeting for review and editing by attendees;

3.) Memo and follow up meeting with Assembly Insurance Committee Chair

Joseph Morelle;

4.) Meeting on Long Island with insurance agents and other stakeholders.

Submitted: May 18, 2010