NY storm rules promote safety, voice for victims

NY new storm rules prompted by Sandy promote efficiency, safety and voice for future victims

Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Almost a year after Superstorm Sandy struck the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new rules Monday for responding to disasters that are meant to provide faster and better service for victims.

The state has established an expedited claims process to get insurance money into the hands of New Yorkers sooner after a natural disaster, Cuomo said. The new measures also provide for emergency licensing to bring in more insurance claim adjusters and a mediation program to settle disputes with insurers more quickly.

The state will also order a moratorium after a disaster forbidding insurance companies from canceling policies. The changes will also allow homeowners to make immediate repairs for safety, rather than waiting through the claims process.

"During Superstorm Sandy, these steps helped us speed up relief to New York families and businesses, and they will now become a standard part of our storm response arsenal," Cuomo said. "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."

Benjamin Lawsky, the state superintendent of financial services, said the new measures will be available the moment a disaster hits.

"This protocol will make it crystal clear to insurers what is expected of them when responding to future natural disasters and helping families and businesses get back on their feet," Lawsky said.

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