N.Y.: PIANY advocates to make photo inspections optional

November 18, 2021

When the New York state Legislature is not in session, PIANY continues to advocate for the association’s legislative priorities. This year is no different and PIANY is working with legislators to try and make private-passenger photo inspections optional.

Through PIANY’s efforts, legislation to address this issue already has been introduced in the state Senate and state Assembly. S.6028 /A.6877—sponsored by Sen. Neil D. Breslin, D-44, and Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, Jr., D-96, respectively—would allow insurance carriers to waive the requirement for photo inspections when clients purchase physical damage coverage for their vehicles.

What PIANY has been doing

Over the last few months, PIANY staff and leadership have met with independent insurance agents across New York during the association’s Regional Advisory Council meetings, and they have solicited written testimonials about agent and client experiences regarding photo inspections.  The takeaway:  

  • agents have issues with the new CARCO app, including concerns about security;
  • clients are having trouble finding local inspection sites and/or sites that operate beyond the traditional workday (9 a.m.-5 p.m.); and
  • Clients find the website and the new inspection app to be inconvenient—what used to take a few minutes now is taking 15-30 minutes.

In addition to these testimonials, PIANY is enlisting more co-sponsors for this legislation. Recently, PIANY recruited Sens. John E. Brooks, D-8, and Anna M. Kaplan, D-7, to co-sponsor S.6028.

The association also has prepared information—including almost 10 pages of testimonials—on this topic, so legislators can hear from New Yorkers—including their constituents—firsthand about this issue during visits with legislators as part of PIANY’s District Office Visits program, which started last month.

One key point that the association tries to help legislators understand is that the photo-inspection requirement is outdated. As many agents have told PIANY in recent months, after being in the business 30 or 40 years, they have never seen a photo inspection be used for a claim. In fact, there are more modern and effective ways to fight auto insurance fraud, rather than using these photos.

What’s next?

As the next New York state legislative session draws near, PIANY continues to encourage other legislators to co-sponsor the legislation and to educate legislators about this outdated and ever-increasingly inconvenient practice. PIANY will continue to advocate in this way during the legislative session.

Additionally, the association is preparing a social-media campaign that will educate PIANY members on the issue with the photo-inspection requirement, and to share the experiences that agents and clients have had with the requirement. PIANY also is working on a few advocacy campaigns to help ensure that this legislation gets passed through both the state Assembly and the state Senate in next year’s legislative session.

How can agents help?

The success of these advocacy campaigns depends on you. When PIANY launches the campaigns during the legislative session, association members will receive an email to ask them to contact their  legislators about this issue. It will take only a few minutes, and it can help get legislators’ attention when they receive multiple messages about the same piece of legislation.

Additionally, when you see the photo-inspection campaign on PIA Northeast’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter channels, you can share the campaign to educate your clients, and tag your district legislator to get their attention online.

And, you can volunteer to be part of PIANY’s District Office Visit program, and pay a visit to your local legislators to talk about the photo-inspection issue and other PIANY legislative priorities. To participate in the DOV program or to get more information, send an email to PIA Northeast Government & Industry Affairs or call (800) 424‑4244.

About the author…

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D., joined PIA’s Government & Industry Affairs team in 2018 as government and industry affairs specialist. Now, as the PAC coordinator & public policy analyst, she is responsible for managing political action committees in New York and New Jersey; tracking legislation and regulations; helping manage the association’s advocacy initiatives throughout the Northeast states; and drafting position statements and testimonies. Kat previously worked as a Senate fellow for the New York State Senate Fellowship Program; as well as an instructor of public policy at the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y. She also worked as a senior research aid and assistant for the SUNY Research Foundation, Albany, N.Y. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the State University of Albany, Albany, N.Y., in May 2020. She also has her Master of Arts from SUNY Albany and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Elmira College, Elmira, N.Y.

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