With hundreds of thousands of Sandy-related insurance claims placing a burden on insurance companies and frustrating homeowners, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Department of Financial Services would be publishing a series of new regulations to expedite the process of getting people’s homes back in shape.
“The problem is one of scale and quantity,” Cuomo said at a press briefing today. “You have about 360,000 people that have insurance claims right now, so you can imagine the overwhelming task of getting 360,000 claims adjudicated and administered in a relatively short period of time.”
Among the new regulations, insurance companies will have to send an insurance adjuster to a home within six days as opposed to the current law, which allows 15 days for an adjuster to arrive. Cuomo will also sign an executive order that will allow for an increased number of public adjusters who will be available to advocate for the homeowner. The Department of Financial Services will also post a report card on its web site to hold insurance companies accountable for their performance, and help homeowners decide where to shop for future policies.
But perhaps the most impactful new regulation will allow homeowners to perform their own construction work without an adjuster’s approval if there is a health and safety issue that needs to be addressed. The homeowners who decide to proceed with construction will still be required to keep their own records and receipts and take photographs of the damage in order for to be reimbursed by their insurance company.
Cuomo said these regulations would go into affect immediately, and that if adjusters are still slow to address homeowners they will face a $1,000 penalty for each day that they are late. He added that he met with insurance companies to discuss these new regulations and commended them for their cooperation, in contrast to his hard-line stance with the utility companies that were slow to return power to their customers.
“All across the board, in all the affected areas, there are people who just can’t get people to respond, can’t get adjusters to the house, and can’t get construction started, and we believe this is going to make a significant difference,” Cuomo said.