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New Jersey Order Reduces Time Period Insurers Have to Respond to Sandy-Related Claims Complaints

February 12, 2013

Author: Thomas F. Quinn

The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (Department) issued Order No. A13-104 (Order) effective February 5, 2013, amending a New Jersey law that governs the time period in which insurers must respond to an inquiry from the Department regarding a consumer complaint filed with the Department. The law provides an insurer fifteen (15) working days to respond to such a compliant after it is received.

The Order, which applies to consumer complaints based on Superstorm Sandy–related claims only, reduces that time period to five (5) working days from the time of receipt. Insurers must provide the Department with a complete and accurate written response based on available information. While an insurer may request one extension of an additional five business days, such extension must be sought prior to the expiration of the initial extension and no further extensions may be requested. The Order specifically states that the amendment will be inoperative once the Sandy emergency has ended.

This action by New Jersey is similar to one taken by the New York Department of Financial Services last November when it amended New York Insurance Regulation 64 by shortening the time period that insurers have to commence a claims investigation for Sandy-related claims. Specifically, the amendment requires New York insurers to begin investigating a claim within six (6) business days of receipt of the claim rather than the fifteen–business day period that applies to other types of claims.

As is evident from New Jersey’s latest initiative, storm-ravaged states continue to take measures to expedite the claims- and complaint-handling processes for resident insureds harmed by Superstorm Sandy.

Wilson Elser will continue to report regarding these regulatory developments.

Visit our Superstorm Sandy Resource Center.

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