ITHACA, N.Y.—The Ithaca Carshare must pause its operations on May 19 thanks to continuing struggles to secure insurance in New York. The pause is initially planned to last from May 19 until June 30, 2023.
The announcement came in an email to Carshare participants on Monday, May 1. Carshare leaders and supporters had staged an all-out effort to fight the pause, holding a news conference in the State Capitol in Albany and rallying awareness through the media over the last several weeks, but to no avail yet. There are over 1,500 members of the carshare currently.
“New York State insurance regulators prohibit Risk Retention Groups (RRGs) from writing auto insurance in NYS unless they are domiciled here,” reads the announcement. “This problem is unique to New York State, as federal law explicitly allows RRGs domiciled in one state to write automobile insurance in other states.”
While local representatives State Assemblymember Anna Kelles and State Senator Lea Webb have introduced bills in their respective legislative bodies addressing the issue, those bills have not yet been voted on. The state’s legislative session is scheduled to end June 8.
One Vermont-based insurance company has stated they are willing to write auto insurance for Ithaca Carshare, but that is prohibited by the state since the company isn’t domiciled in New York. Beyond that company, Field said, the non-profit has been unable to find another insurance company that is willing to carry the carshare’s plan. Field notes that is despite a “15-year history with excellent loss runs.”
“While we wait for this bill to make its way through the legislature, NYS insurance regulators could fix this urgent problem for Ithaca Carshare today,” said Ithaca Carshare Director Liz Field.
To that end, Field said carshare officials would be meeting with state insurance regulators again this week in another attempt to remedy the situation.