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Regulators Want Insurers' Disaster Response Plans

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Insurers have been directed by New York’s Department of Financial Services to submit updated disaster response and recovery plans. Two circular letters distributed by the financial services department on Tuesday require both life/health insurers and property/casualty insurers to file plans by June 16.

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In addition, property/casualty insurers were also ordered to submit responses by April 28 to a “pre-disaster survey” developed by the DFS that requests information on the numbers of vehicles insured by the companies.

The reports pertain to the planning for natural disasters, terrorist attacks and cybersecurity breaches, the state agency said.

DFS Superintendent Maria Vullo said the state needs to have the information in hand so that if disaster strikes it can help the governor and the state Office of Emergency Management compile accurate information on the extent of physical damage and losses, personal injuries and deaths.

That data, in turn, is crucial for state officials to use when deploying resources to respond to emergencies, as well as when applying for federal disaster relief aid, Vullo said.

“Disaster response and business continuity plans should reflect the nature, scale and complexity of each insurer’s business,” Vullo said in a statement.

The department said insurers must update their plans at least annually.

Plans must include predicted effects of disasters on companies’ insureds; the companies’ planned responses for when emergencies occur, and their post-disaster follow-up proposals to make sure that the resources necessary for recovery get into the hands of the affected parties.

The reports are designed to build on the New York Information Network, which was established under the old state Insurance Department in the wake of 9/11 to share information about possible terrorist attacks, the DFS said. 

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