I have previously written about several Hurricane Sandy-inspired bills in New York and New Jersey, noting how they appear to have policyholder interests at the forefront of their terms. A little over a month ago, in Legislation Proposed In New Jersey To Eliminate Anti-Concurrent Cause Provisions From Insurance Policies, I wrote about a bill proposed in the New Jersey Legislature (A4467) that would eliminate anti-concurrent cause provisions excluding losses where both covered and non-covered perils occur at the same time. A similar bill was proposed in New York (A07455) to outlaw anti-concurrent policy provisions, as noted in my post, In Sandy’s Aftermath, A New York Congressman Proposes A Bill To Eliminate Anti-Concurrent Cause Provisions From Policies In New York.
Well, what has happened to these bills in the past several months? These bills seemed to receive resounding support the legislatures when first proposed, but appear to be lingering for final support to become signed into law. That’s where the war is going on; behind the scenes; in a political way. It most likely has something to do with the political landscape surrounding the efforts to change anti-concurrent insurance policy provisions and the impact that this may have on the insurance industry and the premiums they could charge. That is likely what has caused delay to these bills. As you can imagine, the insurance industry has lobbyists with things to say about these bills.
Some insurance industry publications stated that the perception with the insurance carriers is, if passed, Sandy-inspired bills like the ones mentioned in this post may do more harm than good, and might “open the flood gates” for even more litigation after catastrophic events.1
Industry professionals can debate these allegations, and your view on the effectiveness of these proposed bills may very well depend on the side of the fence that you are on in the industry. There is one thing that is certain: the vast population of folks affected by Hurricane Sandy and facing anti-concurrent causation policy provisions should not have insult added to injury by these bills lingering. It is important for them to know their fate; one way or another. I will continue to follow these bills and post update on any further progress.
1 "Misguided Sandy-Inspired Bills To Bring More Harm Than Good," Property Casualty 360 Chad Hemenway, June 2013. (http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2013/06/07/industry-misguided-sandy-inspired-ny-bills-to-brin)