Assemblymember Cahill Praises New Law Updating Auto Insurance: Access Promoted for Coverage in the Event of Collisions with Uninsured or Underinsured Drivers

December 21, 2017

Albany, NY – This week legislation was signed (A.8519A Morelle/S.05644B Seward) into law that enhances consumer protection by requiring insurance companies to tell drivers of the availability of Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (SUM) coverage. SUM insurance is applied in circumstances where motorists suffer bodily injury related to incidents where another driver carries either inadequate insurance or in some cases, no insurance at all.

When asked about the importance behind the new measure, Assemblymember Cahill stated, “Many New Yorkers are currently unaware of the importance behind SUM coverage. This action benefits all drivers and passengers alike by requiring the insurance companies to discuss SUM coverage, which doesn’t typically happen. The customer can now decide for themselves how much SUM coverage they want. As a result, consumers will be afforded the ability to decide for themselves how much coverage suits their individual needs. I thank Assemblymember Morelle for his leadership in seeing the law be updated with the consumer’s interest in mind. If a motorist is involved in a collision the last thing they should have to worry about is whether their medical expenses will be covered. This change in the law will enhance an insurance product which can create peace of mind for drivers and protect those who face unfortunate crash on the road,” concluded Mr. Cahill.

Prior to this action, New York State required insurers to provide, at the option of the insured, SUM coverage up to the bodily injury liability limits of an insured’s own policy. Although a number of responsible insurance companies and agents did so, there was no statutory requirement to discuss this type of coverage with their customers. The newly adopted provisions require that this coverage be explained and explicitly disclosed on forms when an individual is purchasing an auto insurance policy. The action will grant customers the ability to make informed choices regarding whether they would like SUM Coverage and the levels they would like to have included in their policy.

When discussing the changes to the law, Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “This common-sense legislation will be a critical tool to better protect New York drivers and their families. I was proud to sponsor it in the Assembly and I am grateful to Governor Cuomo, Assemblyman Cahill, and all of my colleagues in the legislature for coming together to ensure the safety of our communities.”

This SUM legislation was part of a larger package of bills signed into law this past Legislative Session shepherded by Assemblymember Cahill aimed at protecting consumers while also maintaining a competitive insurance market.