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His son has been confined to a wheelchair since he was 6, and hooked to a tracheal tube since he suffered respiratory arrest at age 19.

The Times first reported Oct. 14 that Guardian Life Insurance Co., of New York, had canceled the small business line of coverage that Warren Pearl secured through his construction company, Warren Pearl Construction.

Media attention to the Pearls’ case - including coverage on MSNBC and CNN - led Guardian to apologize to Mr. Pearl and promise to continue his coverage indefinitely. Details of that settlement - including how many other canceled policyholders will be reinstated - are still under discussion, said John Fried, the Pearls’ attorney.

Guardian Life said Thursday that it supports the law in principle but disputed charges that it canceled its policy lines to eliminate the costs of high-claim customers.

“Guardian agrees with the spirit of the proposed law and the principles of notice and process that it aims to address, but cannot comment substantively on the bill since we have not had the opportunity to review it,” the company said.

“We are confident that we acted legally, in full compliance with state insurance regulation, and that at no time did we cancel coverage for an entire block of policies in order to discontinue coverage for any particular individual.

“Guardian has committed to continuing to provide Ian Pearl with the same benefits and coverage that he has had for almost three decades as a valued Guardian customer,” the company’s statement said.

A spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a health insurance lobbying group, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

A representative of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, expressed support for health care reform efforts which would aid vulnerable small businesses like the ones owned by the Pearls and the Kiefs.

“Broadly speaking, this issue is at the heart of the national health care debate,” said Chuck Bell, program director for Consumers Union. He praised the bill for giving the insurance department authority to scrutinize policy cancellations.

Dr. David Hannan, president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, also voiced support for the bill.

“Patients and their physicians, in seeking to assure that needed health care will be covered, must deal every day with a whole host of barriers which are imposed by health insurers,” Dr. Hannan said. “New Yorkers who have paid for health insurance coverage must be able to count on that coverage.”

Ian’s Law (S.6263) makes it illegal for insurers to drop entire classes of insurance in an effort to deny coverage to individuals, requires companies to prove to the state Department of Insurance that they are not dropping a line of coverage as pretext for dumping an individual policyholder and expands the minimum length of time - to 18 months - that an insurer must continue coverage for policyholders after the statewide cancellation of a class of policies.

The bill also allows policyholders to protest a cancellation to state regulators.

It is co-sponsored by Sen. Neil Breslin, Albany Democrat and chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee. Mr. Schneiderman is chairman of the powerful Senate Codes Committee, which oversees legislation on criminal justice and civil rights issues.

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