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May 9, 2001

Pataki administration releases auto insurance proposal
Comprehensive package is intended to reduce costs, combat fraud

The Pataki administration Wednesday proposed changes to auto insurance in New York designed to fight fraud and cut auto insurance premiums.

The legislative and regulatory package includes an executive order from the Governor naming the Attorney General special prosecutor to coordinate state-level investigatory and prosecutorial efforts to fight fraud.

In a release, the state Insurance Department said the legislative proposal includes new protections against insurance fraud, which it said costs New York drivers $1 billion a year, as well as new rights and options for consumers.

"This comprehensive package will protect honest New Yorkers from the mounting costs of fraud and abuse by putting insurance crooks out of business. Consumers must be confident that they are paying for the insurance coverage they need, not subsidizing the fraudulent activities of scam artists, unscrupulous lawyers, doctors, and medical providers," Gregory V. Serio, acting superintendent of the state Insurance Department, said in a release.

Provisions designed to fight fraud: The plan would reduce, from 90 days to 30, the period in which accident victims should report a claim. It would also give medical providers 45 days from each treatment to submit claims for payment. These changes would eliminate existing loopholes that have been exploited as opportunities for fraud and abuse, the Insurance Department said in a release.

But the new regulations would excuse noncompliance with these deadlines when there is a clear and reasonable justification, the release added.

The package also would:

New consumer protections: The proposal also calls for a comprehensive new set of consumer rights:

The state Insurance Department's release is at www.ins.state.ny.us/p0105091.htm.