Monday, November 30, 2009

New York Insurance Department Releases Proposed Revised Regulation 68

Last week, the New York State Insurance Department released its working draft of a revised Regulation 68, a document that "follows an intensive review of Regulation 68 by the Department’s Office of General Counsel and its Property Bureau, including meetings with representatives of insurers, health professionals, trial lawyers, health service providers and other stakeholders."  The last significant revision to New York's no-fault regulation was implemented in 2002.  According to the Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn's press release,  the revised rules covering no-fault automobile insurance "aim to help reduce fraud and abuse associated with no-fault claims, while making the no-fault system more user-friendly."

The 152-page "working document" can be found here or by clicking on the image to the left.

The Department has announced that the release of this draft is the first step of the regulatory process. Modifications to this draft may be made based on the feedback received before the proposed revisions enter the formal regulatory approval process, which will also include a statutorily-prescribed comment period.

Comments on the draft are due on or before January 8, 2010 and may be sent to the Department either by completing a webform created specifically for commenting ( or by emailing the Department at

I'll be posting my thoughts on the proposed changes first on this blog and then submitting them to the Department.  If you would like me to include your thoughts and comments with mine, please post them here or email them to me.  At rough count, this proposed revised regulation imposes 74 new "shalls" or requirements on no-fault insurers not found in the current regulation.  That's 74 more chances per claim of having a New York court find something wrong with the insurer's claim handling, and 74 more chances per claim of having a denial invalidated on technical non-compliance grounds.

The Department's press release notes that "[o]ne of the most significant forces increasing automobile insurance claim costs has been the explosion of filings in the court system of disputed no-fault claims by providers of health services. This has overwhelmed the courts and led to long delays in the resolution of these disputes and to the payment of unnecessary claims, undermining the very purpose of the no-fault system."

Does anyone actually think adding 74 new "shalls" directed at no-fault insurers will reduce provider litigation?  Really? 

I'll have more on the proposed revisions soon, including a key for decoding the red, blue and green underscoring and strikeouts.  Meanwhile, get busy scribbling your thoughts and comments in the margins of the working draft and send them through to the Department.  The more input the Department receives from interested parties, the better.

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