N.Y.: Updates on PIANY’s advocacy to make photo inspections optional

February 1, 2022

Now that the New York state Legislature is back in session, PIANY’s advocacy for the association’s legislative priorities is getting kicked into high gear—and that includes PIANY’s work to 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. PIANY discusses this legislation further in the latest episode of The Break.

The bill is on third reading in the Assembly and still is in the Senate Insurance Committee.

What PIANY is doing now

To help get this legislation passed in both chambers this session, PIANY is taking a multifaceted approach. The association is sharing information on PIA Northeast’s social-media channels about the difficulty insureds face to get these inspections, such as the difficulty in finding locations nearby. The goal of these posts is to 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. The association is encouraging agents to share this information on social media and to tag their state legislators so they are aware of this issue.

PIANY members are actively meeting with legislators through its District Office Visits Program and it’s engaging its members in an advocacy initiative to get more co-sponsors for the legislation. PIANY encourages all association members to send a letter to their legislators urging them to support and to co-sponsor the legislation. Getting more sponsors can show leadership in both chambers that there is support for the bill, which can help a bill move through the legislative process.

What PIANY did in the off session

During the off session, PIANY staff and leadership met with independent insurance agents across New York during the association’s Regional Advisory Council meetings, and they 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 enlisted more co-sponsors for this legislation. The association 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 and their constituents firsthand about this issue during visits with legislators as part of PIANY’s DOV Program.

One key point that PIANY is trying to help legislators understand is that the photo-inspection requirement is outdated. As many agents have told the association 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.

How can agents help?

The success of these advocacy campaigns depends on you. When PIANY launches these campaigns, 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 DOV 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.

Get involved

If you want to get involved with PIANY’s legislative and advocacy work, there are many ways to engage with the association:

Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez, Ph.D.
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Katherine “Kat” Slye-Hernandez 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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