New digital campaign launched by NYSTLA is not only misleading, but could be detrimental to consumers
ALBANY, N.Y. – The following statement is in response to the New York State Trial Lawyers Association’s new digital media campaign launched to support Assembly Bill 257A and Senate Bill 4049B which would promote frivolous lawsuits. The statement can be attributed to Kristina Baldwin, vice president of state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
“The New York State Trial Lawyers Association is at it again. This time with a misleading digital media campaign designed to try and take attention away from how they would profit from Assembly Bill 257A and Senate Bill 4049B, legislation they are supporting.
“This legislation is not about Sandy claims or consumer protection. This bill is unnecessary as the state Department of Financial Services already investigates and penalizes unfair claims settlement practices. However, this bill is really intended to open up the courts to frivolous lawsuits and the potential for the trial bar to make more money.
“The trial lawyers are playing on the emotions of New Yorkers who suffered damage following Sandy. But in the aftermath of Sandy, the insurance industry responded to the unprecedented nearly 500,000 insurance claims and helped residents get back on their feet and on the road of recovery.
“In support of their bill, the trial lawyers point to problems with flood insurance, but they neglect to mention that flood insurance is a federal program governed by federal requirements. To point to flood insurance issues as the reason for passing this bill is patently misleading.
“Insurers settled over 90 percent of the non-flood claims within the first 100 days following the storm. Claims adjusters from around the country were brought in to help process the vast number of claims. As a whole, the industry met the DFS’ expedited timeframes and paid claims at a rate faster than in any other major recent storm.
“The insurance industry also cooperated with the department’s mediation program to help bring resolution to the relatively small number of disputed claims and the number of formal consumer complaints associated with Sandy was extremely low, about one half of one percent – relative to the total number of claims filed.
“The insurance industry has played and will continue to play a key role in ensuring the recovery of residents, businesses and communities in the storm impacted areas.
“On the other hand, if these bills advance, the trial bar could ultimately be harming consumers by potentially making insurance more expensive and harder to find in some areas. When you look at the facts associated with this bill, it is clear that this is about trial bar profits rather than consumer protections.”