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Governor signs bill to help insurance company maintain jobs

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

Senator Joseph Griffo and Assemblymember Anthony Brindisi state that the Governor has signed a bill they sponsored that would create a process so a domestic mutual accident and health insurance company can reorganize and become a stock accident and health insurance company.

The new law's Senate Sponsor, Griffo, who also serves as the Senate Banks Committee Chairman said, "This technical change in the insurance law now gives the Financial Services Superintendent the ability to oversee the reorganization of a insurer like Commercial Travelers, without jeopardizing the policyholders, creditors or the public. This is an example of how government should ease regulations to help business compete in New York. The Commercial Travelers is still one of Utica's foundational employers and the threat of losing the fifty or so, employees there due to an outdated requirement was unacceptable to us. We've pleased that Governor Cuomo concurred and approved our measure."

"My top priority since taking office has been the creation and retention of jobs in the Mohawk Valley," Assemblymember Brindisi said. "This legislation is needed to help a company that has had its headquarters in Utica for nearly 150 years reorganize so it can continue to provide good jobs for our residents and grow."

Currently, state insurance law does not include a process for the reorganization of domestic mutual accident and health insurers. This legislation creates a legal process so companies can switch from a domestic mutual accident and health insurance company to a stock accident and health insurance company. The bill also facilitates partnerships between insurers, giving struggling companies access to more capital. This process would allow Commercial Travelers Insurance to reorganize and make sure the company continues to operate in Utica, Senator Griffo and Assemblymember Brindisi noted.

"We greatly appreciate the leadership of Assemblyman Brindisi and of Senator Griffo in sponsoring and working to achieve passage of this important bill in their respective Houses, Mark L. Solverud, President & Chief Executive Officer of National Guardian Life Insurance Company, the company with a controlling interest in Commercial Travelers said. This bill, which provides a framework for demutualization of Commercial Travelers, is a vital first step toward strengthening its financial position. While Commercial Travelers and its employees at its Utica home office may be impacted by a number of challenges which still lie ahead, the enactment into law of this bill passed due to the efforts of Assemblyman Brindisi and Senator Griffo will help facilitate the long-term health of Commercial Travelers and the maintenance of jobs in Utica."

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