A nonprofit in Tompkins County is struggling to get auto insurance, and it’s hoping for a solution on the state level.
Ithaca Carshare’s membership-based business has been operating for 15 years. Officials say a change with their current insurance provider is leaving them to decide what’s next.
Liz Field, the Ithaca Carshare director, said a federal insurance group that currently insures the group won’t be able to provide insurance anymore. A business like Ithaca Carshare, she says, falls into the category of risk retention.
Field says in New York, that type of insurance isn’t allowed to be issued. With the current policy running out in May, Carshare is looking for a change in state law to help it to continue running. Additionally, Field says the company was granted NYSERDA funding of $315,000 to buy more cars for the fleet, but that purchase might not happen with the current insurance issue.
“We’re not going to be able to access that. They’re not going to fund us if we can’t get auto insurance and stay in operation. It’s very time sensitive," said Field.
Bill A5718 would allow a risk retention group from out of state to issue insurance policies for New York nonprofits. It’s a complicated problem, but one Ithaca Carshare hopes to solve soon so it can continue offering low-cost vehicle access to the city and approximately 1,500 members.
Members are preparing to be at the Capitol in Albany on Tuesday to gain more support for the bill.