Bill S780-2009

Prohibits refusal to issue or renew certain insurance policies solely on the ground of the nature of the occupation of the applicant

Provides that no insurer shall refuse to issue or renew a covered policy of property/casualty insurance or include a provision therein limiting coverage solely on the ground of the nature of the occupation of the applicant or insured; applies to personal lines insurance including personal umbrella policies as well as automobile liability policies.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 6, 2010: REFERRED TO INSURANCE
  • Jan 15, 2009: REFERRED TO INSURANCE

Memo

 BILL NUMBER:  S780

TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to prohibited basis for refusal to issue or renew a covered policy of property/casualty insurance or for limiting coverage therein

PURPOSE : To prohibit insurance companies from denying the application for or renewal of a personal umbrella liability insurance policy based on an applicant's occupation.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1: Amends section 3425 of the insurance law by adding a new subsection (i-1) which would prohibit an insurer from refusing to issue or renew a covered policy or include a provision in the insurance contract limiting coverage under the contract, based on the nature of the occupation of the applicant or insured.

EXISTING LAW : Currently, all insurance contracts for personal umbrella liability insurance prohibit a person from applying or having their insurance contract renewed if they are public office holders, seeking public office, professional entertainers, professional athletes, radio and television broadcasters, newspaper publishers, editors and reporters, individuals convicted of libel or slander, labor leaders, private detectives, sheriffs and police officers.

JUSTIFICATION : Personal umbrella liability insurance is designed to cover personal (non business) liability of individuals. Currently, certain individuals because of their occupations are not able to apply for or even renew an existing personal umbrella liability insurance policy. The following occupations because they are considered to be a high risk group are denied umbrella insurance coverage: public office holders, professional entertainers, professional athletes, radio and television broadcasters, newspaper publishers, editors and reporters, individuals convicted of libel or slander, labor leaders, private detectives, sheriffs and police officers.

Recognizing that public office holders should not be discriminated against, states such as Oregon and Texas have enacted statutes to exempt public office holders from this high risk group, permitting them to apply for personal liability insurance.

The decision to grant insurance coverage or not should be made on a case by case basis weighing various risk factors, not based on a wholesale exclusion of a certain classes of people. Therefore, this legislation does not mandate that insurance companies grant individuals working in an excluded profession an umbrella policy. It merely allows these individuals to apply for such coverage and be granted or denied coverage based on their individual backgrounds and experiences.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2007-2008 - Insurance.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect on the first day of the calendar month next succeeding the 30th day after it shall have become a law.

Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 780 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 15, 2009 ___________
Introduced by Sen. ALESI -- 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 prohibited basis for refusal to issue or renew a covered policy of property/casualty insur- ance or for limiting coverage therein THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 3425 of the insurance law is amended by adding a new subsection (i-1) to read as follows: (I-1) NO INSURER SHALL REFUSE TO ISSUE OR RENEW A COVERED POLICY, OR INCLUDE A PROVISION IN THE INSURANCE CONTRACT LIMITING COVERAGE UNDER THE CONTRACT, SOLELY ON THE GROUND OF THE NATURE OF THE OCCUPATION OF THE APPLICANT OR INSURED. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of the calendar month next succeeding the thirtieth day after it shall have become a law.

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