NY Gov. Vetoes Bill on Auto SUM coverage

Wanting not to add to the financial burden already faced by New York auto insurance consumers, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a bill last December that would have had auto insurance policyholders automatically enrolled to the supplementary underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. (SUM).

The bill, A10784, which was hurriedly passed by state legislature in the final hours of the legislative session on June last year was forwarded to the office of the NY Governor on Dec. 5.

Siding with the insurers, Cuomo vetoed the bill saying that the bill could have placed upon NY auto insurance consumers an acceptable choice.

The governor believes that policyholders should have the freedom to choose what level of supplementary coverage that will make sense for them. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is required among drivers in the said state. This will compensate them on medical costs on crashes that would be caused by motorists who does not have insurance, or in cases that the motorist that caused the accident is unknown. The SUM would be an additional protection for motorists to cover them in out-of-state crashes, increasing their UM coverage limits.

The said bill could have put NY auto insurance consumers into an opting-out position.

On the other hand, New York Insurance Association (NYIA) viewed A10784’s legislation to have been carelessly sped through. The NYIA prefers that consumers shall be in an opting-in position on SUM than opting-out. If the bill was not vetoed by the governor, consumers could have ended up paying more for SUM that they did not choose to have.

Cuomo agrees with the position of the NYIA which has dozens of insurers as its members. Cuomo said that the state’s Department of Financial Services can explore other ways to increase awareness among consumers on the benefits of having SUM coverage so they can have a more informed choice whether or not to have it.