New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association began its full-time operation on October 28, 1968. The widespread riots of the previous year that had caused property damage brought attention to the fact that some owners of inner city properties had trouble purchasing fire insurance.
Representatives of the insurance business met with Washington officials to look for a way to provide adequate insurance protection in a climate dominated by civil unrest. They created a program in which the private companies would provide fire insurance to any insurable risk regardless of location. If this proved too demanding for the private sector, then—with the approval of the state legislatures—joint underwriting associations were to be formed to provide coverage.
Today such associations operate in 29 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association is among the largest. Moreover, in New York State virtually all properties can look to the Association for insurance coverage. In many other state pools coverage is restricted to certain risks in certain districts.
Begun as part of the former New York Fire Insurance Rating Organization, the Association was reformed in 1970 as a free-standing unit, headed by its own executive staff, housed in its own offices and serviced by its own personnel.
When first established, New York Property offered only the very basic property insurance—fire and extended coverage. As the Association matured, it instituted new programs to meet changing needs.
- Shortly after the Association became an independent unit its method of handling policies and claims was changed to allow the Association to operate as a syndicate and issue policies directly. Originally "service companies" had performed this role.
- In addition to basic fire and extended coverage, the Association has introduced vandalism and malicious mischief insurance, sprinkler leakage insurance, and time element coverages such as loss of rental value, loss of business income, and additional living expense.
- Besides company representatives, the Association's board has three insurance producers appointed by the Superintendent of Insurance to represent the public.