NYBFAA: Legislation Threatens to Void Critical Contract Terms

The New York Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA), along with the Electronic Security Association (ESA), is urging opposition to Senate bill 2074, which recently passed the New York Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would declare “void and unenforceable” certain contract terms indemnifying or exempting manufacturers, sellers and/or monitors of burglary protection systems from liability for negligence.

“The bill would have a devastating effect on insurance creating a deteriorating situation for security alarm dealers and monitoring companies where insurance could become scarce or unavailable,” says Tim Creenan, NYBFAA legislative chairman. “Many small businesses would be forced to close their doors, and those remaining would be forced to charge such a premium for their services that alarm systems would become unaffordable for most homes and businesses.”

Most concerning to NYBFAA and ESA is the legislation threatens to make alarm monitoring services unaffordable to the general public and if passed could have devastating consequences not only in New York, but throughout the country. Additionally, the associations view the new legislation as unnecessary. Currently, a contract which grants an exemption from liability for a willful or grossly negligent act is already void.

“State bills in California and New York have a tendency to be copied by other states in rapid order. If this bill survives the year-long session in New York, it will generate copycat bills in the 2011 state legislative sessions nationwide,” says John Chwat, ESA’s director of Government Relations. “This bill is a real threat to the security industry and we need to stop it.”

In support of NYBFAA and ESA’s efforts, the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) has asked its members with businesses in New York to contact their state senators to oppose the legislation. Members have been asked to:

  • Contact state senators by phone, letter, fax or E-mail, asking them to oppose the bill
  • Contact vendors, manufacturers and suppliers, as the legislation will affect their business
  • Send information to others in the industry

Click here to view a sample letter.

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