Sharon Angelino, a partner in Goldberg Segalla’s Global Insurance Services Practice Group, was interviewed by Law360 Insurance regarding a proposed post-Superstorm Sandy bill that would amend a New York State law targeting unfair claims practices by insurers.
Law360 said the bill, proposed by Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, D-Brooklyn, “would create a private right of action for companies and individuals that are fighting for coverage of property damage in areas where the governor has declared a disaster.”
While “the measure gives policyholders ammunition and opens the doors to more individual and class action lawsuits against insurance companies,” critics believe it could increase customers’ insurance rates, thanks to a rise in insurers’ legal bills.
Sharon explained that plaintiffs attorneys could see large profits from this litigation against insurers.
“[An] unintended consequence of this is a boon to the plaintiffs bar,” she said. “It encourages retainer of attorneys to pursue these claims. A policyholder under the current regulations can pursue mediation, and that process doesn’t require representation.”
Sharon also noted that policyholders already have a number of options available in disputes with insurers, and believes lawmakers must look at the New York bill very carefully.
She noted: “I’m hoping they look at this as an unnecessary additional burden on insurance companies, and ultimately policyholders.”
“Sandy Insurance Bill a Gift for Plaintiffs Bar,” Law360, March 12, 2013