The Value of Advocacy: Legislative Session Adjourns with Significant Wins for IAs

The Value of Advocacy: Legislative Session Adjourns with Significant Wins for IAs

The New York State Senate and Assembly adjourned for the year on Saturday after a flurry of last-minute activity. Throughout the session, Big I NY’s government relations team engaged on dozens of bills, and when the dust settled, the value of our efforts was clear.

Both houses of the legislature passed Big I NY-backed changes to supplemental spousal liability insurance, exempting unmarried drivers and commercial coverage from automatic enrollment. These common-sense changes will end the frustration experienced by many customers when the automatic enrollment law went into effect last year. Governor Hochul is expected to sign this legislation into law.

Big I NY was also instrumental in blocking a disastrous bill which would have substantially increased the liability exposure of all businesses.​ The bill would have expanded the scope of prohibited business practices to allow private lawsuits for even the most minor of perceived violations, and created generous incentives for consumers to file lawsuits. This would result in a wave of abusive litigation against businesses and made it more difficult and costly to obtain coverage. Big I NY was the only producer group to forcefully oppose this legislation, joining with dozens of employer associations throughout the session to voice our concerns. Big I NY agents sent over 500 emails to their lawmakers, and made nearly a hundred phone calls to Assembly leadership in the closing days of session. These efforts paid off, with the Senate amending the bill to exclude DFS-licensed entities and individuals, and the Assembly declining to bring the bill to a vote by the full house.

The legislature also failed to act on sweeping legislation to ban the use of non-compete agreements, which Big I NY opposed. This would have significantly disrupted our industry and created a significant barrier to mergers and acquisitions.

We also strongly opposed a bill which would throw the rental habitational coverage market into turmoil by banning the use of lead paint exclusions.​ While well-intentioned, this enormous potential claim costs of this bill would drive carriers from the market and make rates unaffordable. The bill advanced to the floor in the Assembly, but did not pass either house. 

Both houses of the legislature passed legislation significantly expanding the scope and potential damages for wrongful death lawsuits. Big I NY, along with a broad coalition of groups representing insurance, business, healthcare, and local governments, strongly opposed this bill, as it would substantially increase insurance costs. The bill’s future remains uncertain – it has been vetoed twice by Governor Hochul, and the version passed this session does little to address the concerns she identified. We will again urge the Governor to veto this harmful proposal.