New Weisenberg Law Will End Insurance Discrimination Against Firefighters

August 22, 2011
A bill authored by Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D–Long Beach) that will prohibit insurance companies from denying auto insurance to volunteer firefighters on the basis of their vehicle use was signed into law by the governor (Chap. 408 of 2011).

“Volunteer firefighters are among the bravest, most selfless New Yorkers,” Weisenberg said. “It is important that we not allow this dedication to count against them. This new law will end this unfair practice by some insurance companies to discriminate against firefighters because they offer up their vehicles in service to their communities.”

Weisenberg authored the bill in response to a major insurance company’s denial of coverage to a volunteer firefighter who uses his personal vehicle to respond to emergency calls, which is often the case with many volunteers throughout New York. Under Weisenberg’s legislation, insurance companies can neither refuse new applicants nor deny existing customers renewal of their policies on the basis of their firefighting.

“The decision to become a volunteer firefighter isn’t an easy one to make,” Weisenberg said. “They have enough to think about without worrying whether their auto insurance company might drop them from coverage.”

Weisenberg’s measure continues his longstanding advocacy for first responders. This session, he also authored legislation that would immortalize all firefighters who have died in the line of duty on the New York State Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Albany (A.5933).