NEW YORK (FinalCall.com) – A weather forecasting group predicts a busier than normal hurricane season, May 15 through November 30, with a major storm hitting the Northeast.
“There are indications that the Northeast will experience a hurricane larger and more powerful than anything that region has seen in a long time,” the senior meteorologist and director of forecast operations of AccuWeather.com told the Associated Press.
AccuWeather meteorologists say that current weather cycles and water temperatures make it a question of when, not if. They also say Northeast damage as a result of a hurricane could surpass that caused by Hurricane Katrina.
In the meantime, the Allstate Insurance Company has decided to cancel, or not renew, insurance policies for 28,000–roughly 3.11 percent–of their 900,000 New York customers. According to a New York Daily News story published on Apr. 23, one other insurer, MET, has declined taking new business in the eight so-called hurricane counties, which encompass the five boroughs, plus Nassau, Westchester and Suffolk.
“It’s not right–and it’s not fair–and it’s time New York gets tough on regulating these out of control insurers,” argues N.Y. State Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), in a press release.
Sen. Klein has introduced what he calls “sweeping” insurance reform legislation designed to protect consumers and ensure stability in the insurance market. The Bronx lawmaker’s legislation would slash by 50 percent the number of policies any insurer can drop in one year–from four percent to two percent.
His proposal would also require the New York State Insurance Department mandate that insurers demonstrate potential risk/loss before canceling or not renewing homeowners’ policies and direct the department to conduct a study on “the profitability of the property/casualty insurance industry, specifically reviewing the reasons and rate at which they increase their premiums or terminate coverage in markets impacted by natural disasters.”
“It’s a David vs. Goliath situation,” explains Jason Heap, spokesman for Sen. Klein. “Allstate tells us they know it’s bad what they are doing, but there is nothing they can do–and they say they aren’t doing anything illegal,” Mr. Heap laments. He said as the law stands it provides insurance companies with a lot of latitude.
Brooklyn Borough Pres. Marty Markowitz has been attempting to get a response from Allstate concerning dropping of low-income and ethnic homeowners, but they haven’t responded, according to his spokesman, Brian Vines. “Brooklyn consumers are running scared,” Mr. Vines admitted, adding, “This is out of control.”
An Allstate spokeswoman told the Daily News that it wasn’t an easy decision. “But we believe this is the right decision,” she said.