New Guidelines May Give NY Policyholders More Leverage

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It has been one year since Hurricane Sandy hit.  Yet, not a day passes without more stories of homeowners still waiting to receive compensation for their losses.  As many of these claims begin to be litigated, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is seeking to make sure that these types of “bad faith insurance” disputes don’t happen again.  He recently announced the formation of the Emergency Disaster Protocol (EDP) – which will ultimately give policyholders more leverage when dealing with insurance companies.

Will The EDP Really Help Policyholders?

The answer is – maybe.  According to, the new EDP measures, some of which have already been put in place, would provide a protocol that insurance companies would be expected to follow after a natural disaster or severe weather incident.  The EDP would:

  • address emergency licensing of new claims adjusters
  • broaden proof-of-loss documentation to include photographs, video recordings, material samples, receipts and inventory lists
  • establish an online report card to hold insurance companies publicly accountable
  • expedite claims processing procedures
  • formalize a mediation program for disputed claims
  • institute a temporary moratorium on insurers canceling policies in storm-stricken areas for non-payment of premiums
  • permit immediate and necessary repairs to damaged properties, along with the discarding of dangerous debris

Gov. Cuomo and New York legislators say that having a protocol in place can help speed up the relief process for everyone.

“Insurance companies have a vital responsibility to promptly process claims for consumers hit by a natural disaster and this new emergency protocol will help make sure that they live up to that standard,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.

While having a protocol is great, there are some who are concerned about how it will be enforced when insurance companies simply ignore it as many companies did after Hurricane Sandy.

No one knows how important having an enforcement strategy is more than New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) – whose district was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.  She told, “Problems in dealing with insurance companies have made up the bulk of my office’s constituent casework since Sandy slammed our district 12 months ago.”

The assemblywoman introduced legislation that would have created enforcement strategies for insurers.  However, the legislation did not pass.  For now, she thinks the protocol is a good idea, but many of her constituents continue to fight with their insurers – even a year later.

A Better Way To Get Your Insurance Proceeds

Having a protocol in place should create guidelines that inform everyone of their rights and responsibilities during a natural disaster.  That being said, without a way to force insurance companies to do the right thing, the protocol may end up just being – a guideline.

There’s a better way to get your insurance proceeds – and we can help.  If your insurance company hasn’t treated you fairly by disputing your settlement amount, improperly calculating your deductible, undervaluing your claim, proposing an unfair settlement in hopes that you’ll just go away or denying your claim without a good reason, it has likely acted in bad faith and should be held accountable for its actions.

At Belluck & Fox, we understand how insurance companies operate and know that most policyholders feel intimidated at the thought of taking on big insurance companies.  We are not intimidated at all.  In fact, that’s what we’ve been doing for the last decade – with a great deal of success.

Contact the experienced New York insurance dispute attorneys at Belluck & Fox and let us analyze your situation, get your claim settled once and for all and determine whether you might be entitled to other compensation for bad faith insurance practices.  Call us today at 855-322-3857 for a free consultation.