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LUMBERTON, N.J. — New Jersey operators who routinely handle runs in New York are scrambling to make sure their insurance policies qualify under New York Taxi and Limousine Commission rules about carrying adequate personal injury protection.
The flap over the rule erupted after some New Jersey operators were denied NYTLC limousine vehicle registrations and renewals because they didn’t carry the explicit PIP protection required of New York-based operators. The new TLC rule requires that operators who do business in New York City, including the LaGuardia and JFK International airports, have liability insurance policies that carry $200,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
A meeting last week between transportation attorney and former NYTLC Commissioner Matt Daus and officials from the NYTLC resulted in the regulatory authority recognizing the Lancer ISO Line of Insurance Program as meeting its PIP requirement. Lancer is the largest vehicle insurer in the chauffeured transportation industry and has many clients in the New Jersey-New York market. Daus is also general counsel for Lancer Insurance.
“The language in the Lancer policy is like the PIP coverage,” said Barry Lefkowitz, executive director of the Limousine Associations of New Jersey. “It specifically increases automatically to the requirement of the state when [operators] cross the border.”
Now the challenge for New Jersey-based operators under other insurance providers is to make sure the NYTLC would recognize their specific policy languages as similar to that of Lancer’s. Since LANJ alerted its members about the NYTLC change in an e-blast last week, Lefkowitz’s lobbying firm in Lumberton, N.J. has been inundated with calls. On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving alone, his offices received at least three dozen calls and a number of e-mails from mostly smaller operators with policies written by smaller insurance providers. They have even fielded calls from operators in Connecticut and Pennsylvania who do business in New York City.
“Some folks are scared to death that they can’t do business,” Lefkowitz said. “A number of non-LANJ members contacting us.”
Lefkowitz has been asking the inquiring operators to send LANJ copies of their policies so they can review them and make sure their ISO forms parallel those of Lancer Insurance. The review often involves talking to multiple insurance agents familiar with the policies. Daus and Lancer agents have been helping LANJ handle the requests.