Today, Governor Hochul signed legislation (S.7658-B/A.8869-B) to safeguard hate crime victims from unfair treatment by insurance companies.
The new rule forbids insurers from denying coverage, hiking rates, canceling insurance, or declining to issue or renew a policy only because one or more claims have been filed for losses brought on by hate crimes.
Individuals, religious groups, or nonprofit corporations established and run for religious, philanthropic, or educational objectives are all subject to the new law.
“New York stands strong against acts of hate wherever they occur, and we will continue to hold perpetrators of these horrific crimes accountable,” Governor Hochul said.
“If an individual is targeted for a hate crime, the last thing they should worry about is losing their insurance, and with this legislation, we are taking action to protect victims and ensure every New Yorker is treated with dignity and respect,” Hochul added.
According to legislation (S.7658-B/A.8869-B), if the insured provides proof to the insurer that the loss was caused by a hate crime committed against the person or property insured, the insurer is not allowed to cancel, raise the premium, refuse to issue, or refuse to renew a policy on the basis that one or more claims have been made against the policy over the previous five years for a loss.
Additionally, it ensures that those who conduct hate crimes cannot utilize the law to shield themselves from price rises or cancellations brought on by the crime they committed.
State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “As a Jewish refugee who came to this country fleeing antisemitic violence in my homeland, my heart aches over the explosion of hate and extremist-fueled violence that we’ve seen in this country since the pandemic.
I’ve been proud to stand up and fight against hate at every opportunity, but we need to do more, and this legislation is an important step to make clear that hate has no place in New York State.
No one who is the victim of a hate crime should fear reprisals from their insurance company just for reporting what’s happened to them, and every victim should feel comfortable reporting hate to the police to allow justice to be served.
I’m grateful for the Governor’s efforts to tackle this crisis head-on and for signing this bill into law to remove barriers to justice that continue to harm victims.”
Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein said, “Victims of hate crimes do not deserve to be discriminated against once again. This bill will ensure that insurance companies maintain their policies despite any claims incurred due to hate crimes. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for recognizing the significance of this legislation and standing up for the victim’s rights.”
Governor Hochul has vigorously fought against hate crimes and violent acts since assuming office.
In November, Governor Hochul signed legislation establishing a statewide campaign for the acceptance, inclusion, tolerance, and understanding of diversity, including but not limited to diversity based on religion, race, color, creed, sex, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
The legislation also mandates mandatory training or counseling for those convicted of hate crimes.
Along with $46 million in federal funds for 240 nonprofit groups statewide at higher risk of terrorist attack, the governor also announced $50 million to bolster safety and security measures at nonprofit, community-based organizations.
This adds to the $43 million in grants from 362 nonprofit organizations the previous year to strengthen security systems and improve readiness for future hate crime assaults.
Additionally, all hate crimes are now arrestable if the perpetrator is eighteen or older under the Governor’s FY2023 Enacted Budget.