Bill S624-2013

Prohibits insurers from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, or charge or impose an increased premium for certain policies based on the breed of a dog owned

Prohibits insurers from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, or charge or impose an increased premium for homeowners' insurance policies based on the breed of a dog owned if the dog completes an approved obedience course.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO INSURANCE
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO INSURANCE

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S624

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to prohibiting insurers from canceling, refusing to issue or renew, or charging higher premiums for homeowners' insurance based on the breed of dog owned if the dog completes an approved obedience course

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To limit insurers' ability to summarily cancel insurance coverage, raise rates or refuse to renew homeowners :nsurance policies based on the breed of dog such insured owns.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 3421. This section provides that no insurer shall refuse to issue or renew, cancel, charge or impose an increased rate for such policy based on harboring a dog or dogs of a specific breed or "mixed" breed.

Provides that an insurer is not prohibited from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, or charge or impose an increased rate for such policy based on a dog"s designation as a "dangerous dog" pursuant to section 121 of the agriculture and markets law However, before the insurance company may do any of the above, it must offer the homeowner the opportunity to enroll their dog in an approved obedience course. The insurer shall provide the dog 90 days to successfully complete such course. If the course lasts longer than 90 days the homeowner may show proof that the course lasts longer than 90 days and shall receive an additional 60 days to complete such course. If the dog successfully completes a course the insurer is prohibited from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, charge or impose an increased rate for such policy based upon the designation of such dog as dangerous.

Section 2: Effective Date

EFFECTS OF PRESENT LAW WHICH THIS BILL WOULD ALTER: Currently insurers are allowed to refuse to issue or renew, cancel, charge or impose an increased rate for a homeowners' policy based on ownership of certain breeds of dog.

JUSTIFICATION: No species of dog is inherently dangerous. Each dog is a unique individual with a unique personality that is influenced by their own personal experiences and training When a dog becomes "dangerous" it is often because their owners encourage aggressiveness or poor socialization with humans or other dogs. A conscientious homeowner should not be punished simply because they own a dog that insurers consider a "dangerous breed". While insurance companies will site statistics that certain breeds of dog bite or behave aggressively more than others, each dog is a unique individual who mayor may not become aggressive.

Insurers must allow homeowners the opportunity to properly train a dog through an approved course before being allowed to refuse to issue, renew, cancel, or charge increased rates A proper training course will encourage good behavior and socialization before problems start. This is similar to reducing rates when an insured purchases a burglar or car alarm, takes a defensive driving course etc. When an insured takes steps to ensure that their dog will behave properly, the insurer must recognize these efforts.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY S.3112 of 2007 02/23/07 Referred to Insurance S.1710 of 2011 01/11/11 Referred to Insurance 01/04/12 Referred to Insurance

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all policies issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such effective date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 624 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. SAMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to prohibiting insurers from canceling, refusing to issue or renew, or charging higher premi- ums for homeowners' insurance based on the breed of dog owned if the dog completes an approved obedience course THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 3421 to read as follows: S 3421. HOMEOWNERS' LIABILITY INSURANCE; DOGS. 1. WITH RESPECT TO HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE POLICIES AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWO THOUSAND THREE HUNDRED FIFTY-ONE OF THIS CHAPTER, NO INSURER SHALL REFUSE TO ISSUE OR RENEW, CANCEL, OR CHARGE OR IMPOSE AN INCREASED PREMIUM OR RATE FOR SUCH POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, UPON HARBORING OR OWNING A DOG OR DOGS OF A SPECIFIC BREED OR BREEDS OR A DOG OR DOGS "MIXED" WITH A SPECIFIC BREED OR BREEDS. 2. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT PROHIBIT AN INSURER FROM REFUSING TO ISSUE OR RENEW OR FROM CANCELING ANY SUCH CONTRACT OR POLI- CY, NOR FROM IMPOSING AN INCREASED PREMIUM OR RATE FOR SUCH A POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED UPON THE DESIGNATION OF A DOG OF ANY BREED OR MIXTURE OF BREEDS AS A DANGEROUS DOG PURSUANT TO SECTION ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-THREE OF THE AGRICULTURE AND MARKETS LAW, BASED ON SOUND UNDERWRITING AND ACTUARIAL PRINCIPLES REASONABLY RELATED TO ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED LOSS EXPERIENCE SUBJECT TO THE APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF SECTION THREE THOU- SAND FOUR HUNDRED TWENTY-FIVE OF THIS ARTICLE. HOWEVER, BEFORE AN INSURER MAY REFUSE TO ISSUE, RENEW OR CANCEL SUCH CONTRACT OR POLICY OR IMPOSE AN INCREASED PREMIUM OR RATE FOR SUCH POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED UPON THE DESIGNATION OF A DOG AS DANGEROUS, AN INSURER SHALL PROVIDE SUCH DANGEROUS DOG NINETY DAYS TO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE AN APPROVED
OBEDIENCE COURSE. IF SUCH COURSE LASTS LONGER THAN NINETY DAYS, THE HOMEOWNER MAY SHOW PROOF THAT THE DOG IS ENROLLED IN SUCH COURSE AND UPON SUCH PROOF SHALL RECEIVE AN ADDITIONAL SIXTY DAYS TO COMPLETE SUCH COURSE. IF SUCH DESIGNATED DANGEROUS DOG SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES SUCH COURSE, THE INSURER IS PROHIBITED FROM REFUSING TO ISSUE, RENEW OR CANCEL SUCH POLICY OR CONTRACT OR INCREASE THE PREMIUM OR RATE ON SUCH POLICY OR CONTRACT BASED UPON THE DESIGNATION OF SUCH DOG AS DANGEROUS. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all policies issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such effective date.

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