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SB6166 Actions:

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SB6166 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                      May 11, 2017
        Introduced  by  Sen.  LANZA  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance
        AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to creating a homeowners'
          bill of rights and a consumer guide on insuring  against  catastrophic
          loss caused by natural disasters

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 3444-a
     2  to read as follows:
     3    § 3444-a. Homeowners' bill of rights.  (a)  Any  insurer  that  writes
     4  personal  lines  insurance  or  commercial lines insurance policies that
     5  cover loss of or damage to real property, personal  property,  or  other
     6  liabilities  for  loss of or damage to property shall, upon issuance and
     7  renewal of any such policy or contract, provide to an insured or  poten-
     8  tial  insured  written  detailed  disclosure  in  a notice prescribed or
     9  approved by the superintendent describing clearly and in plain  language
    10  the following:
    11    (1)  any  and  all  coverage  for  loss caused by certain occurrences,
    12  including but not limited to fire, wind, windstorm, mudslide, hurricane,
    13  snow, ice, water surge, or flood, coverages provided under  the  policy,
    14  any limitations on or exclusions from coverage, circumstances that would
    15  invalidate  coverage  under  the policy, any applicable deductibles, and
    16  when such deductibles shall be triggered;
    17    (2) all information related to claims  investigation  and  processing,
    18  including but not limited to the process by which the insured may file a
    19  claim,  all  applicable  time frames required by law and regulation, all
    20  necessary proof of loss information and other  information  the  insurer
    21  may  require from the insured, the process by which the insured may file
    22  a complaint with the department, and any other information deemed neces-
    23  sary by the superintendent;
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 6166                             2
     1    (3) any and all rights a claimant has under the laws and policy when a
     2  claim is denied or when the claimant rejects a settlement offer from the
     3  insurer, including their right to file a complaint with the department;
     4    (4)  that  the  provisions  of  this policy may be modified or changed
     5  pursuant to state or federal law when a  local  state  of  emergency  is
     6  declared  pursuant to section twenty-four of the executive law, when the
     7  governor declares a disaster emergency pursuant to section  twenty-eight
     8  of  the executive law, or when the President of the United States issues
     9  a major disaster or emergency declaration  pursuant  to  the  Robert  T.
    10  Stafford  Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 93-288) and
    11  how the insured may obtain information about any such  modifications  or
    12  changes;
    13    (5)  information on how the insured may contact the insurer, including
    14  the insurer's business hours, mailing address, phone number, fax number,
    15  website address and email; and
    16    (6) information on how the insured can obtain the  consumer  guide  on
    17  insuring  against catastrophic losses created by the department pursuant
    18  to section three hundred thirty-eight of  this  chapter  and  any  other
    19  guides, pamphlets, or other information the department has made publicly
    20  available that would be beneficial to the insured.
    21    (b)  In  the  event  that  a  policy subject to subsection (a) of this
    22  section does not include coverage for damage  as  a  result  of  weather
    23  conditions,  natural  disasters, or other occurrences, including but not
    24  limited to fire, wind, windstorm, mudslide, hurricane, snow, ice,  water
    25  surge,  or  flood,  the  insurer  or  producer  shall, upon issuance and
    26  renewal of any such policy or contract, provide to an insured or  poten-
    27  tial  insured  information on any additional coverage options, including
    28  additional policies and riders, the New York Property  Insurance  Under-
    29  writing Association, the Coastal Market Assistance Program, the National
    30  Flood  Insurance  Program,  and any other options authorized by state or
    31  federal law.
    32    § 2. Paragraphs 6 and 7 of subsection  (a)  of  section  2601  of  the
    33  insurance  law,  paragraph  6  as  amended  and  paragraph 7 as added by
    34  section 27 of part H of chapter 60 of the laws of 2014, are amended  and
    35  a new paragraph 8 is added to read as follows:
    36    (6)  failing  to promptly disclose coverage pursuant to subsection (d)
    37  or subparagraph (A) of paragraph two of subsection (f) of section  three
    38  thousand four hundred twenty of this chapter; [or]
    39    (7)  submitting  reasonably rendered claims to the independent dispute
    40  resolution process  established  under  article  six  of  the  financial
    41  services law[.]; or
    42    (8) knowingly misrepresenting or failing to provide pertinent facts of
    43  policy  provisions  to  claimants  as required by section three thousand
    44  four hundred forty-four-a of this chapter and not  complying  with  such
    45  policy  provisions, including established time frames for investigation,
    46  claims processing and settlement, and payment of claims.
    47    § 3. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 338 to  read
    48  as follows:
    49    § 338. Consumer guide on insuring against catastrophic losses. (a) Six
    50  months  after  the  effective  date  of this section, the superintendent
    51  shall issue and update, as  necessary,  a  consumer  guide  on  insuring
    52  against catastrophic losses that shall contain comprehensive information
    53  written  in plain language in a clear and understandable format, includ-
    54  ing the following:
    55    (1) the ways in which different types of weather  conditions,  natural
    56  disasters, or other occurrences can cause catastrophic losses, including

        S. 6166                             3
     1  but  not  limited to damage from fire, wind, windstorm, mudslide, hurri-
     2  cane, snow, ice, extreme cold, water surge, and flood;
     3    (2)  the  types  of  insurance available that provide coverage against
     4  catastrophic losses for both homeowners and  businesses,  a  listing  of
     5  companies that provide such coverage, and recommendations as to how best
     6  to  shop for and compare prices, service and quality of insurance cover-
     7  age;
     8    (3) a list of the exclusions typically  found  in  such  coverage  and
     9  information  on  how a consumer may obtain coverage for such exclusions,
    10  including a listing of companies  that  provide  such  coverage  and  an
    11  explanation of, information on, and the types of coverage available from
    12  the  New  York  Property Insurance Underwriters Association, the Coastal
    13  Market Assistance Program, and the National Flood Insurance Program, and
    14  other options authorized by state or federal law;
    15    (4) steps a consumer can take to prepare for  a  natural  disaster  or
    16  other catastrophic loss;
    17    (5)  steps  a consumer can take following a catastrophic loss in order
    18  to facilitate the timely processing of the  consumer's  insurance  claim
    19  and an explanation of policyholders' rights as provided in law and regu-
    20  lation; and
    21    (6)  a  department  toll  free  consumer  hot-line and website address
    22  through which consumers may initiate  complaints,  and  request  general
    23  information about insurance.
    24    (b)  The  requirements set forth in subsection (a) of this section may
    25  be satisfied by separate or supplemental publications and updates.
    26    (c) The superintendent shall  post  the  consumer  guide  on  insuring
    27  against catastrophic losses on the department's website.
    28    § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.
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