N.Y.: Expanding horizons: Legislation introduced to widen C-MAP eligibility

January 24, 2024

In New York state, a notable amendment has been proposed that would redefine the landscape of coastal property insurance. Targeting the Coastal Market Assistance Program, this bill (S.8320)— introduced by Sen. Shelley Mayer, D-37—would broaden the insurance options for property owners in coastal areas.

The C-MAP was established by the then New York State Insurance Department—now the New York State Department of Financial Services—and it is administered by New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association. Its purpose is to assist homeowners living in New York ’s coastal areas obtain insurance for their homes. Since its inception, C-MAP has played a pivotal role in assisting property owners in coastal regions to secure insurance—a task often laden with challenges due to the high-risk nature of these areas. Historically, properties eligible for this program were defined stringently, limiting access for many who reside in proximity to New York’s shoreline.

What would change

The crux of this legislative update lies in the expansion of eligibility criteria for properties under the C-MAP. Currently, C-MAP applies to properties within 2,500 feet of the shoreline in the Bronx and Westchester and Long Island’s North Shore, and to properties within one mile of the shoreline in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the South Shore of Long Island.

This bill would expand the geographical coverage of C-MAP to properties located within one mile from the shoreline in all covered areas and it would broaden the definition of “shore” to include freshwater shoreline along Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Saint Lawrence River and the Niagara River. This distance is to be measured from the mean high water—a practical metric that acknowledges the fluidity and dynamism of coastal landscapes.

This expansion isn’t just about numbers; it’s a significant stride toward insurance policies that recognize the evolving needs of coastal communities. With climate change and environmental factors reshaping our coasts, this amendment is timely. It acknowledges the growing risk faced by coastal properties and the need for accessible insurance solutions.

For insurance agents and brokers, this amendment could mean navigating a broader market, as more properties come under the purview of C-MAP. It would be an opportunity to reach new clients and offer tailored insurance solutions that address the unique risks of coastal living.

The legislation, which passed the Senate Insurance Committee on Jan. 22, 2024, would take effect immediately if it is signed into law.

Bradford J. Lachut, Esq.
PIA Northeast

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.

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