NY First, a coalition of auto insurance carriers and independent agents and brokers, today launched a campaign to reduce obstacles and eliminate outdated requirements for consumers seeking auto insurance coverage.
The unified coalition of insurance professionals supports bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Neil Breslin (D-Albany) and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-Rockland) that will allow auto insurance companies to waive the vehicle photo inspection typically required to obtain collision or comprehensive coverage.
The bill, dubbed the Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act (S.6028), passed the New York State Assembly with bipartisan support at the end of March. If enacted, the bill will make it easier for customers to obtain comprehensive and collision coverage, and provide regulatory relief to consumers, independent agents and brokers, and insurance companies.
The bill is supported in the Senate by a bipartisan group of co-sponsors:
• George M. Borrello (R, C, IP, LIBT) 57th Senate District (Jamestown)
• John E. Brooks (D) 8th Senate District (Massapequa)
• Jeremy A. Cooney (D, WF) 56th Senate District (Rochester)
• Pete Harckham (D, WF) 40th Senate District (Peekskill)
• Pamela Helming (R, C, IP) 54th Senate District (Geneva)
• Daphne Jordan (R, C, IP, RFM) 43rd Senate District (Hudson)
• Anna M. Kaplan (D, IP, WF) 7th Senate District (Long Island)
• John W. Mannion (D) 50th Senate District (Syracuse)
• Thomas F. O'Mara (R, C, IP) 58th Senate District (Elmira)
• Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D, WF) 38th Senate District (Spring Valley)
• Patty Ritchie (R, C, IP) 48th Senate District (Watertown)
• Sean M. Ryan (D) 60th Senate District (Buffalo)
• James Skoufis (D) 39th Senate District (Newburgh)
"Every year, auto insurers in New York are required to perform physical inspections of cars to address fraudulent damage to vehicles, resulting in higher premiums for New Yorkers,” said Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. “While this provision made sense at the time it was enacted, today we have better ways of preventing insurance fraud that are far more cost effective. It is time that insurance companies have the ability to put an end to this antiquated process and pass those savings on to drivers."
“Insurance agents know all too well that mandatory photo inspections are a barrier for many motorists in New York. Making these inspections voluntary at the discretion of insurance carriers will streamline the process of obtaining insurance, helping more New Yorkers get covered and stay covered,” said NY First Co-chair Ron Brunell. “I applaud Assemblyman Zebrowski for passing this bill in the Assembly and Senator Breslin for championing it in the Senate. I am proud to work in unison with the insurance carriers and hope to see this important bill become law."
“Allowing insurers to waive photo inspections will improve access to auto insurance for consumers throughout the state,” said NY First Co-chair Dan Bierbrauer. “The Auto Insurance Consumer Relief Act will help New Yorkers stay insured while saving time and money, and help insurers deliver better results for our customers. I am pleased to be collaborating with the agent and broker community, along with our elected officials in Albany to support this pro-consumer initiative.”
Currently, New York State law makes photo inspections mandatory in order to obtain comprehensive or collision coverage, regardless of an insurance provider’s preferences or needs. The coalition contends that the law, originally enacted in the late 1970s, no longer serves a purpose in contemporary practice, and unnecessarily inconveniences consumers and small business owners. Worse yet, if a consumer does not complete the photo inspection within a certain time frame, their collision and comprehensive coverage is terminated.