Expedited Claims, More Adjusters And Online Insurance Report Card System Will Improve Claims Processing And Transparency

Consumer Federation of America Applauds New York Governor Cuomo’s Initial Response to Superstorm Sandy-related Claims

Washington D.C. (December 5, 2012) – In response to recommendations provided by consumer advocates and industry representatives, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week a series of actions designed to expedite Superstorm Sandy-related insurance claims and hold insurers accountable.

The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), which regulates insurance companies, will now require insurers to begin investigating claims six business days after a claim is filed, down from 15 days.  To expedite claims and ensure that homeowners receive payments in a timely manner, DFS is also authorized to increase the number of temporary licenses available to qualified, out-of-state insurance adjusters.

“The aftermath of severe weather events, like Superstorm Sandy, is a stressful time for families whose homes were damaged or destroyed,” said J. Robert Hunter, Director of Insurance at the Consumer Federation of America.  “We applaud Governor Cuomo for these important actions to ensure that claims are processed quickly and that families can move on with the lives.”

The DFS will also launch an online report system to evaluate how well the 24 largest insurance companies operating in New York respond to claims.  The online report will include information on the number of claims, the average time it takes for an adjuster to carry out an inspection, the number of claims closed with and without payment, and the total number of consumer complaints.

“Consumers should be empowered to make informed choices about their insurance company, including how well their insurer responds to claims and resolves complaints,” said Hunter.  “The proposed online report system will create unprecedented transparency in this process and give both consumers and regulators the tools they need to make sure legitimate claims are paid in full and on time.”

Contact: J. Robert Hunter, CFA, 703-528-0062

Consumer Federation of America is an association of nearly 280 non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, education and advocacy.