Cymbrowitz, Golden Push Insurance Reforms Through Albany To Protect Sandy-Affected Homeowners

Photo by Leon Lipkovich
Photo by Leon Lipkovich

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Thursday, the third anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, designed to regulate insurance claims related to sewer backups that occur during storms.

The law requires the Department of Financial Services to examine and make recommendations for reforming “anti-concurrent causation” clauses in insurance claims, which had been used to deny coverage to homeowners whose houses were flooded by overflowing sewers during Superstorm Sandy.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, who sponsored the bill in the Assembly, said insurance policies must evolve to address the threat of extreme weather.

“Many homeowners were denied damage coverage after Hurricane Sandy because insurance providers claimed no connection between the storm outside and the sewer backups inside,” he said in a press release. “This legislation will ensure that the State can properly direct insurance companies to provide the coverage when concurrent damage occurs and, in the future, prevent denial of coverage.”

In the wake of Sandy, insurance companies argued the loss or damage caused by sewer backups could not be distinguished by the damage caused by the storm, and denied many flood insurance claims, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

“We all know that despite the fact that sewer backup insurance is very expensive, it does not allow for all claims,” said Senator Martin Golden, who sponsored of bill in the Senate. “We have changed the law so that New Yorkers can now recover some of the financial loss they endure in the event of such an incident.”

The law requires the Department of Financial Services’s superintendent to submit a report to the Governor and the Legislature by January 1, 2017.

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