Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani


Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, May 18, 1997

Last Thursday I was in Park Slope to announce the City's plans to file a lawsuit, on behalf of all of our citizens, to recover the amount of money they've been overcharged for auto insurance during the past three to four years.

In every borough, in nearly every neighborhood of our city, there's been a marked reduction in auto theft. Since 1994, auto theft has been reduced by about 50% in New York City and since 1991 by about 60%. That means there are about half the number of automobiles stolen in the City of New York now.

If auto theft is down -- and one of the primary things you're paying for when you pay auto insurance is insuring against the risk that your car is going to be stolen -- there should be a reduction, and a large reduction, in comprehensive insurance rates, the kind of insurance that covers theft. This is particularly true since theft represents nearly 80% of all losses paid under such insurance in New York City.

Given these facts, you would expect the premiums paid by New York City motorists to go down over the past few years. But instead, they've gone up, and in some cases, they've gone way up.

Take for example data from the New York State Department of Insurance's "Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance". A 35-year-old male in New York City is now paying almost 50% more in auto insurance than he was paying three or four years ago.

Insurance companies are making a huge amount of money off the business that they're getting from New York City and keeping the increasing profits for themselves and sharing none of them with the people who pay for insurance.

The bottom line is that you -- the people of New York City -- are entitled to some of the money that the insurance companies have been making in profits, because they've been overcharging you over the past three to four years

. That's why I asked the Corporation Counsel Paul Crotty, and Eugene Anderson, who's the senior partner in the law firm Anderson, Kill and Olick, to file a lawsuit for the city to seek to recover damages from insurance companies and set up regulatory measures to control rates in the future.

The insurance companies now report that New York City shouldn't be complaining because they say they're going to reduce rates 20 to 30 percent. Well, that's too little too late. And even that too little would not have occurred if we didn't put together a task force to start going after them to try to point out these inequities.

I want to thank Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, Jose Maldonado, and his staff, because they put together this report and they've put us now in a position to recover money for New Yorkers and to start getting control over the way in which these auto rates are charged.

And just as auto theft has gone down, we've seen, for example, similar drops in the theft of property, which has also gone down between 40 and 50 percent in just about every neighborhood in the City of New York. And that should mean that those people who are paying property insurance should be paying lower premiums today than three or four years ago. And the simple fact is, they're not.

Unfortunately, there are a number of industries that overcharge the people of this city simply because they think they can get away with it.

We're trying to change all that. And by filing this lawsuit against these insurance companies -- something that's never been done before -- we're fighting back for the people of this city and sending a message to these industries who try and take advantage of New Yorkers. And what we're saying to them is, we're not going to tolerate this overcharging any longer and if you do it, we're going to take you to court.

From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.

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