The New York state Legislature went into recess for 2023 when the Assembly adjourned in the early morning hours on June 9. While Assembly members have returned to the Capitol this week to address a few outstanding items, (including a PIA-priority issue!) For most bills June 9 marked the end of the legislative road in 2023. Looking back at the 2023 legislative session, PIANY was successful in advancing many of the association’s legislative priorities.
PIANY’s top priority this year was the passage of legislation that would make important reforms to New York state’s outdated photo inspection law. Your association was successful in doing just that as A.3172A/S.5889 passed the state Legislature earlier this year.
This legislation would allow insurance companies to file a waiver with the New York State Department of Financial Services to allow them to waive photo inspections for all or some of the personal automobiles they insure. They legislation will now go to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her consideration (Tell Gov. Hochul to sign photo inspection reform today).
Bait and switch
PIANY has fought for many years to make common-sense changes to writing of personal auto policies to ensure consumers are not subject to drastic premium increases following the binding of a policy. To that end, PIANY supported legislation this session that would have required insurance companies to make a good faith attempt to verify a driver’s driving history before binding and accepting a down payment on a personal automobile insurance policy.
This legislation experienced an interesting journey. The legislation originally passed the Assembly in March. The bill was then subject to back-and-forth negotiations in the Senate between state regulators, elected officials, PIANY and insurance companies that stretched into the last days of session.
What resulted was a common-sense piece of legislation that addressed many of the concerns of the interested party. It also resulted in a bill passing the Senate that differed from the version passed in the Assembly in March. Usually, that means a bill will not become law. However, as mentioned above, the New York Assembly returned to session this week to pass a few outstanding bills. Thanks to the advocacy of PIANY and its members, bait and switch was one of those bills that was passed!
Another longstanding priority of PIANY has been the creation of a single definition of windstorm in standard homeowners policies. While the definition of windstorm may seem innocuous, it can have a real impact on homeowners. Currently, there are over 100 definitions of windstorms filed with the DFS. That has the potential to create mass confusion among policyholders when the next big windstorm hits New York state.
PIANY wants to prevent that situation from happening and has supported legislation to empower the DFS to create a single definition of windstorm. That legislation successfully passed the Assembly!
While the bill was not voted on in the Senate, PIA volunteers spent time this spring meeting with elected officials about this bill and educating them on its importance. That advocacy work helps to lay the groundwork for a successful 2024!
Last year, PIANY was successful in getting Chapter 833 of the Laws of 2022 passed, which streamlined the process of placing commercial insurance policies in the excess-line market and simplified and reduced the excess-line insurance placement affidavit requirements.
This session PIANY was back advocating for excess-lines reform through support for S.5896. The legislation would exempt commercial insurance policies placed by retail insurance brokers through unaffiliated wholesale excess-line brokers from the diligent-effort requirement when placing business in the excess-and-surplus marketplace. The legislation successfully passed the Senate, but failed to be voted on in the Assembly. This will once again be a top-priority for the Association in 2024.
These legislative successes would not be possible without the efforts of PIA members. PIA members met with elected officials from around the state through PIANY’s District Office Visit program and sent hundreds through PIANY’s grassroots campaigns throughout the year. Thank you to everyone who took the time to reach out to their elected officials.
If you want to get involved with PIANY’s legislative and advocacy work, there are many ways to engage with the association:
- participate in PIANY’s District Office Visit Program;
- become a member of Agents Advocacy Coalition; and
- watch your PIA Northeast publications and PIA Northeast’s social-media channels for important New York updates and share them with your followers.
Bradford J. Lachut, Esq.
Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., joined PIA as government affairs counsel for the Government & Industry Affairs Department in 2012 and then, after a four-month leave, he returned to the association in 2018 as director of government & industry affairs responsible for all legal, government relations and insurance industry liaison programs for the five state associations. Prior to PIA, Brad worked as an attorney for Steven J. Baum PC, in Amherst, and as an associate attorney for the law office of James Morris in Buffalo. He also spent time serving as senior manager of government affairs as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, a chamber of commerce serving the Buffalo, N.Y., region, his hometown. He received his juris doctorate from Buffalo Law School and his Bachelor of Science degree in Government and Politics from Utica College, Utica, N.Y. Brad is an active Mason and Shriner.