Posted at: 02/21/2013 8:28 PM
By: Associated Press
New York officials reported Thursday that 24 insurers have paid more than 270,000 claims since Superstorm Sandy damaged and flooded parts of Long Island, New York City and its suburbs last fall.
The Department of Financial Services said those companies, which account for most of the affected homeowner, auto and business policies, received almost 390,000 New York claims and have closed more than 68,000 without paying as of Feb. 15.
The average time from claims report to inspection ranged from three days for Arch Insurance Group, with 242 commercial claims, to 20 days for State Farm with 55,592 claims, noting its wide array of claims, complexity and damage severity.
The report cited 2,478 consumer complaints. The department has directed three insurers with complaint rates near 2 percent to explain them.
"We have been closely monitoring private insurers' actions and informing all of them about problems as they arise," department spokesman David Neustadt said Thursday. "Most private insurers are doing a good job, but a few are not and as a result we are taking appropriate action."
The total dollar amount for the 272,878 claims closed and paid wasn't reported Thursday.
According to the report, volume at the high end was 81,507 claims received by Allstate, with 70,936 paid and 62,786 of those closed so far. Another 11,156 were closed without payment. The average time from claim to inspection was almost eight days, then an average of 10 days after that for an estimate and another three days for a claim payment. The company had 78 adjusters in the field. It received 528 consumer complaints, or 0.65 percent.
The department sent letters to Narragansett Bay Insurance Co., which received 11,029 claims, closed 8,882 with payments and 1,356 without payments, averaged 10 days from claim to estimate and another six days to payment, and received 147 complaints, or 1.33 percent.
Another letter went to Tower Group, which received 16,777 claims, closed 10,716 with payments and 4,765 without, and averaged 35 days from claim to payment. It had 249 complaints, or almost 1.5 percent.
The third letter went to Kingstone Insurance Co., which had 3,137 claims, closed 1,737 with payments and 1,170 without and received 66 complaints, or 2.1 percent, according to the department.
"New York policy holders have paid their premiums and have every right to expect a timely processing of their claims so that they can rebuild their homes and businesses," department Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky said. "We know that the storm produced extraordinary circumstances, but we still expect insurers to live up to the highest standards."