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N.Y. Gov. Cuomo presses insurance companies on Sandy claims

November 30, 2012|By Joseph Serna
  • Louise McCarthy carts belongings from her flood-damaged home as she passes charred ruins in the Breezy Point section of New York's Queens borough.
Louise McCarthy carts belongings from her flood-damaged home as she passes… (Mark Lennihan / Associated…)

In a bid to expedite money to Superstorm Sandy victims, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order tightening rules on insurance companies and relaxing rules for homeowner advocates.

According to the executive order, 24 insurance companies in the state must start investigating claims filed by families affected by Sandy within six days instead of the standard 15. Companies are also prohibited from canceling policies of homeowners and small businesses in stricken areas through Dec. 15, according to the Department of Financial Services.

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it is vital that New Yorkers receive their claim settlements as soon as possible, so that they can rebuild their homes, businesses and lives,” Cuomo said in a statement Thursday. “There simply is no substitute for speed when it comes to insurance payouts after a storm. We must do everything possible to make sure we hold insurance companies accountable to their customers.”

Cuomo’s order also allows for temporary out-of-state public insurance adjusters to fight on behalf of homeowners. The state has issued more than 16,800 temporary licenses to adjusters, more than doubling the number of advocates in New York since before the storm.

New Yorkers can give their feedback to state officials on a website launched to grade insurance responses.

The companies will be graded on how many claims they receive and for how much, how long it takes them to inspect a home after a claim, how many claims they close without a payment, and the number of complaints.

Cuomo estimated this week that Sandy will cost the state about $42 billion.  The storm made landfall on the Eastern Seaboard Oct. 29, wiping out thousands of homes and knocking out power to millions.

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joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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