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NY DMV offers new options to motorists

Governor Cuomo Announces Expansion of Online DMV Services to Include Viewing License Status and Ordering Document Renewals and Replacements

New My DMV Options Increase Customer Service and Help Lessen Visits to DMV Offices

Albany, NY (November 4, 2013)

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has expanded its online services, making it easier for New York motorists to quickly and easily view the current status of their driver license and renew or replace a driver license, permit or non-driver ID online through the DMV website.

“Instead of waiting on line at the DMV, New Yorkers will now be able renew or replace their driver licenses, check the number of points on their license, and much more with the click of a button,” Governor Cuomo said. “This expansion of the DMV’s online services is part of my administration’s efforts to make all of State government more accessible and convenient for New Yorkers. I encourage all New Yorkers to consider going online for their next interaction with the DMV.”

In addition to the services listed above customers are also able to check the address they have on file, any driving endorsements or restrictions, the number of points on their license, and information about suspensions or revocations and the steps they can take to clear them. The new service is available to those who establish a free MyDMV account on the DMV website and is part of the agency’s Customer Service Initiative.

Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Barbara J. Fiala said, “The goal of our Customer Service Initiative is to make our entire operation fast, easy and convenient. This new online service is a win not only for the customers who go online but also for those who need to visit an office since wait times at DMV offices will also be decreased.”

While accessing driver license information and transactions, MyDMV online customers can also sign up to receive email registration renewal and inspection reminders, purchase a copy of their driver record, register to vote and enroll as an organ donor, along with more than 35 additional transactions that can be completed on the DMV website.

Customers with a driver license can sign up for their free MyDMV account at the DMV website ( Signing up is easy and requires the customer to provide information that is printed on their license document and the last four digits of their Social Security number. Customers also select a username and password when establishing an account that will allow them to conduct additional transactions in the future.


Sandy insurance issues one year later

NEW YORK — Victims of Superstorm Sandy still fighting for a bigger insurance payment from the companies that administer the federal flood insurance program are getting a six-month extension to file critical paperwork.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced the decision Tuesday, even after the government shutdown amid budget wars in Congress. FEMA had given homeowners until the storm’s anniversary to submit a critical legal document called a proof-of-loss form, which acts as an inventory of things they believe should be covered in any insurance settlement. They will now have until April 28.

Many were unaware of the deadline, and many more were unprepared to finish documenting their insurance claims by the storm’s anniversary and stood to lose out on their right to contest lowballed insurance payments, said Benjamin Rajotte, director of the Disaster Relief Clinic at the Touro Law Center on Long Island. The law center had set up a series of automated phone messages by a storm victims legal aid clinic to help get the word out. He said the extension will bring needed bureaucratic relief to thousands of homeowners in New York and New Jersey who are still fighting for a bigger flood insurance payment.

“This gives them an opportunity to continue documenting their flood losses,” he said.

Some people have already signed one loss form filled out by an insurance adjuster. If they are still fighting for a higher insurance payment, though, based on higher-than expected construction costs, they could be barred from collecting if they don’t fill out another form detailing the broader losses.

Twenty-two members of Congress from New York and New Jersey signed a letter that U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate on Friday asking for the extension.

The news comes three days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would share part of the billions of dollars in federal aid from the storm to compensate victims who had claims denied because of a confusing rule barring payments for damage caused by earth movement during a flood.

—Copyright 2013 Associated Press


Use licensed insurance agents for Affordable Care Act coverage

Consumers Should Consider Using Licensed Insurance Agents and Brokers for Health Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act

Agents and Brokers Are More than Just Navigators

WASHINGTON – As millions of consumers consider purchasing health insurance through the insurance marketplaces set up as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — and as some face problems accessing the program because of failures of the government’s website — they should be aware of an option they may not know they have: Consulting their local professional, independent insurance agent or broker for help in enrolling.

Consumers may already know that there are “navigators” paid by the government who are available to assist them in enrolling in policies under Obamacare. But they may not be aware that under the law, navigators cannot offer advice or recommend one policy over another.

Professional insurance agents, on the other hand, are free to offer a much higher level of assistance. Consumers don’t pay for this service. In addition, in most states navigators are not required to be licensed or to comply with state-mandated continuing education requirements; they are also not required to maintain professional liability insurance coverage. Agents and brokers must be licensed and must comply with all of these requirements, along with all state laws and regulations.

Many independent insurance agents and brokers have already been trained and certified to assist consumers to enroll in health plans offered as part of the Affordable Care Act. They can also make consumers aware of insurance choices not available through the exchanges.

“Choosing a health insurance plan is a serious matter,” said PIA National President John G. Lee. “It is a complex process that cannot be compared to purchasing a book from a website. Insurance is not a commodity. The implications of making a poor choice due to lack of adequate knowledge include paying too much or getting inadequate coverage for yourself or your family. When it comes to health insurance, making an ill-informed decision can end up costing you your life’s savings — or your life.”

“Professional agents and brokers have the training and expertise needed to advise consumers about all of their insurance choices,” Lee said. “We have always been licensed, regulated and required to carry professional liability insurance coverage. We recommend that people shopping for health insurance — or any kind of insurance — make the smart choice and not leave anything to chance. Consult a local ACA Certified Professional Insurance Agent.”

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