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Letters: Policyholders should have right to select the coverage they want

Policyholders should have right to select the coverage they want

A bill, sent to the governor for signature (S.5644B/A8591A) should be vetoed. It limits the options of New York policyholders to purchase the kinds of insurance coverage that they believe they need.

Supplementary uninsured/underinsured motorist (SUM) coverage is an optional coverage for New York motorists. Just as a policyholder can choose to purchase collision, glass or comprehensive coverage by asking his or her agent, broker or company to add it to a policy, insureds can do the same with SUM coverage. Whether or not a person should buy SUM coverage, and if so how much, depends on a person’s individual circumstances and choice.

This bill would automatically impose the coverage and the premium on the policy and the policyholder, unless the policy purchaser affirmatively opts out. This would be the ONLY non-mandatory coverage that is automatically included and requires an “opt out.”

The opt-out mechanism will be confusing and impose an unnecessary burden on New York policyholders and small businesses. They will be subject to unnecessary premiums and coverages that they did not affirmatively choose to purchase.

New York policies presently require no-fault insurance and uninsured motorists coverage. Additional limits and underinsured coverage are purchased at the option and choice of the policyholder. This bill, pressed by the plaintiffs trial lawyers’ bar, is designed to take choice away from the policyholder so that there is more money available for pain and suffering awards.

New York policyholders should have the right to select what coverage they want to secure. Nothing should be forced upon them. This bill removes choice and forces policyholders to opt out of coverage. It should be rejected.

The legislature, if it wishes, can make this coverage mandatory. It has chosen not to do so. Why shift the burden of opting out of this one optional coverage to the policyholder? It simply makes no sense.

Dan Kohane


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