State Regulators Prepare To Aid WTC Victims On Claims

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State insurance regulators in states impacted by terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11 say they are reaching out to consumers to assist them with questions on claims.

At press time, the New York insurance department, according to spokeswoman Joanna Rose, had received over 200 calls, with more expected. Questions cut across product lines and include inquiries about life, property-casualty and workers’ compensation issues.

Rose says insurers are setting up mobile offices in New York City to help with claims. New York issued circular letter #26 on Sept. 12 urging responsible judgement in the handling of policies and claims rising from those policies.

In neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut, calls have been lighter, although Peter Hartt, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, notes that initially families will deal with shock and grief and later turn to financial matters.

The New Jersey Department has just issued bulletin 01-14, encouraging insurers and producers among other financial services companies to appropriately relax documentation requirements, due dates for payments and late fees, and exercising forbearance on collection and cancellation activities.

In the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, few questions have come in regarding the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11.

Virginia Commissioner Al Gross says the few calls received were hypothetical. For example, one life agent had a question regarding war exclusions.

In addition to overseeing consumer questions, Gross knows first-hand the impact of the Trade Center disaster. He and three department colleagues were walking to an appointment at MMC Risk Services in the South Tower. The appointment had been rescheduled to 9 a.m. from 8:30 a.m.

A half block from the Center, he noted that a plane was flying very low overhead and moments later it hit the North Tower. A second plane would hit the South Tower minutes later. With debris falling from the wreckage, Gross and his colleagues walked north and west away from the scene, looking back to see the second plane hit.

He later found out that those with whom he was supposed to meet had also made it down to the street level from the South Tower and had headed east away from the Ground Zero site.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Kansas City, Mo., is also planning to monitor foreign insurers and reinsurers and how obligations are handled in the wake of the disaster, the group said after a meeting early last week.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, September 24, 2001. Copyright 2001 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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