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Spitzer vetoes changes to insurance law


ALBANY, N.Y.--New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Wednesday vetoed a bill seeking reforms to notice-of-claim laws to make them more lenient for policyholders.

The bill, which passed in both houses in June, sought among other things to amend the insurance law to prohibit denial of insurance coverage by an insurer solely based upon late notice of a claim.

Under current case law in New York, policyholders must provide immediate notice of claims to insurers.

The bill also would have allowed a third party to file a declaratory judgment action against insurers to determine the extent of insurance coverage between the insurer and claimant, prior to the determination of liability in the underlying action.

Insurers and brokers were divided over the bill.

The Council of Insurance Brokers of Greater New York Inc. last month expressed support for a late notice bill, while the American Insurance Assn., which writes more than 25% of all the property/casualty premiums in New York, in a letter last month urged Gov. Spitzer to veto the legislation.

"There are significant unanswered questions relating to what the actual impact of the bill might be, and the members of the Legislature have not had an opportunity to appropriately balance the views of both sides," Mr. Spitzer said in his veto memo.

Mr. Spitzer's office together with the state Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo will continue to investigate the issue further, he said.