Insurers Refusing to Pay for Thousands of Cases of Sex Abuse Claims Under New York’s Child Victims Act, Advocates Claim: ‘Justice in Jeopardy’

The insurance companies for organizations such as churches, hospitals, schools and Boy Scouts troops are refusing to pay claims for thousands of alleged child sex abuse victims, an advocacy group claims. 

The Coalition for Just and Compassionate Compensation has launched a campaign to pressure insurance companies such as Chubb to stop stonewalling and pay claims.

The group said Chubb has argued in court that it doesn’t owe an insurance obligation for any single abuse case involving the Archdiocese of New York.

“For survivors of childhood sexual abuse, the opportunity to receive restitution symbolizes closure and justice. Unfortunately, Chubb’s attempts to refuse payment is particularly egregious and puts this justice in jeopardy,” said David Catalfamo, executive director of the CJCC.

“We’ve seen time and time again that survivors are the ones who ultimately pay the price if insurers refuse to fulfill their obligations. The CJCC believes strongly that multi-billion-dollar insurers like Chubb must be held accountable and live up to their contractual obligations. It’s time for policymakers, the New York State Department of Financial Services, and the public to hold Chubb accountable.”

The controversy concerns alleged victims of sex abuse as youths decades ago who had filed lawsuits under the New York State Child Victims Act of 2019.

This law, approved by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, allows victims of child sexual assault to bring civil lawsuits up until their 55th birthday, as opposed to age 23.

It also allows survivors of sexual abuse, who could not file a civil lawsuit because they did not start a suit by the time they were 23 years of age, a new period to file a civil action for damages, which was extended through August 14, 2021 

Thousands of civil cases have been filed in court that insurers are contesting, advocates said.

“After years and years of suffering, the Child Victims Act gave sexually abused children a voice and a chance at justice but the insurance companies have held out compensation to simply delay justice,” said Richard Tollner, chair of the Diocese of Rockville Centre Unsecured Creditors Committee representing victims.

“The insureds paid their premiums and now insurance carriers should pay as required. It is time to stand and deliver fair compensation long overdue from the insurance companies.”

The state Department of Financial Services released guidance for all insurance companies to fully cooperate with the intent of the Child Victims Act.

“As a matter of policy, we do not comment on pending legal matters,” Chubb said in a statement.

The CJCC is an alliance of survivors of child sex abuse, advocates and lawyers who represent them.

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