New York Publicizes Sandy Insurance-Claim ‘Report Card’

An online report card on insurers’ claim performance following Superstorm Sandy has been made available by the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS).

The online system launched by officials publicizes claims statistics for 24 homeowners and auto insurance providers in New York dealing with Sandy claims. Company-specific data available in the report cards include:

— Total number of claims
— Number of claims closed with and without payment
— The average number of days it has taken to inspect, estimate and pay out on a claim
— Number of complaints filed against the insurer

David Neustadt, spokesman for the DFS, told Online Auto Insurance News that the current report “covers the vast majority of the market” but also said other insurers will be added to the listings.

The following figures are as of Nov. 27, with the governor’s office stating that the report card system will be “frequently updated.” Breakdowns between auto and homeowners claims were unavailable, but the latest estimates from the Insurance Services Office put the number of Sandy-damaged cars at 230,000, with most claims originating in New York.

Allstate Shows Big Lead in Number of Claims

Allstate fielded the highest number of insurance claims by far with 72,504, a little less than double the number of claims processed by State Farm of Illinois, which saw the next-highest number of claims at 36,277.

Utica National Insurance Group had the highest complaint-per-claim ratio, with four total complaints and 132 total claims.

NY Property Insurance Underwriting Association saw 6,537 claims—a more comparable figure to other insurers in the report—and had the next highest complaint-to-claims rate at 1.06 percent.

Of insurers that saw more than 15,000 claims, Liberty Mutual showed the highest complaint rate at 0.29 percent.

The following insurers have had no Sandy-related complaints filed against them so far: Adirondack, Amtrust, Arch and FM Global, although Adirondack was the only insurer of those to have a sizeable claim volume.

Travelers, Metropolitan Show High Claims Closure Rates

Metropolitan Property & Casualty has had the highest claims closure rate, with almost 70 percent of its Sandy-related claims closed.

The state report also outlined the time insurers take to inspect reported claims, provide an estimate and issue payments; the insurers in the report who have handled a substantial number of claims averaged about 17 days from claim report to payment.

Metropolitan Property & Casualty averaged the shortest period at 10 days, followed by Allstate (11.2), Liberty Mutual (12), Zurich North America (12) and GEICO (13).

“There simply is no substitute for speed when it comes to insurance payouts after a storm,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

Narragansett Bay Insurance Company (NBIC) showed the longest average period from receiving a claim to paying it, averaging 46 days.

Nationwide and State Farm took a relatively long time to issue claims payments, averaging 23.6 days and 34.6 days, respectively.

Travelers Reports Biggest Team of In-Field Adjusters

With 1,595 in-field adjusters, Travelers sports the largest team in New York working on Sandy-related claims, according to the report.

Allstate has the next-highest number of adjusters with 908, followed by State Farm of Illinois, which reported 606 adjusters conducting in-field work on Sandy claims.

Gov. Cuomo also announced that he was authorizing adjusters with out-of-state qualifications for temporary New York licenses, allowing them to work with insurers dealing with Sandy claims. The move “more than doubles the amount of adjusters working for insurers” in the state and expedites the claims process for Sandy victims, according to the governor.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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