Insurance Law - Feb 21, 2014: Legislative Update: 2013 New York Legislation Affecting Property/Casualty and Life Insurers

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Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits (Chapter 10)

Amends Section 3213-a of the Insurance Law, enacted in 2012, to clarify and strengthen certain provisions relating to the requirement that life insurers perform regular cross-checks of their life insurance policies against the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File and to make good faith efforts to locate beneficiaries.

Supplementary Insurance Coverage (Chapter 11)

Clarifies legislation, enacted in 2012, to cover firefighters and emergency service workers—both volunteer and professional—under the fire department’s or ambulance service’s supplementary uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Exemptions from Rate and Form Filings (Chapter 75)

Extends provisions relating to exemptions from rate and form filings for certain property and casualty insurance policies that are written in the free trade zone through 2015 and deletes a requirement that such policies be filed within one day of writing them.

Excess Medical Malpractice Insurance (Chapter 80)

Extends through 2018 the provisions of a 2005 law eliminating the requirement for the Medical Malpractice Insurance Pool (MMIP) to provide a second layer of excess medical malpractice insurance. MMIP is the “insurer of last resort” and, when it was created, a requirement had been imposed that it also offer a second layer of excess medical malpractice coverage. Since none of the other authorized carriers provides the second layer, the original legislation was amended to remove this obligation (a provision that expired on July 1, 2013).

Insurance Holding Company Act and Related Revisions (Chapter 238)

This amendment was intended to revise the New York insurance holding company statute to more closely reflect the NAIC Model Insurance Holding Company System Regulatory Act. The principal provisions are as follows:

  • Amends Section 110 of the Insurance Law to give the Superintendent express authority to participate in supervisory colleges to determine compliance with the Insurance Law as respects an insurer registered under Articles 15, 16, or 17 of the Insurance Law that has international actions and sets forth the powers of the Superintendent with respect to such participation.
  • Adds a new definition of “enterprise risk.” Requires insurance holding companies, domestic property/casualty insurers not subject to Article 15, and parent companies of domestic life insurers to adopt formal enterprise risk management (ERM) functions and file enterprise risk reports annually with the Superintendent by April 30 of each year. Proposed Insurance Regulation 203 (Enterprise Risk Management and Own Risk and Solvency Assessment) is currently pending and is expected to take effect by April 30, 2014, when first ERM reports are due.
  • A domestic insurer other than one required to register as a controlled insurer pursuant to Section 1503 shall adopt a formal ERM function and file a report by April 30 of each year.
  • Makes an agreement to provide the enterprise risk report required by Section 1503 a condition to applications for approval of acquisition of control of a domestic insurer.
  • Requires that insurance holding company registration statements be amended where there is a material change in the information provided in the registration statement on file.
  • Holding companies and controlled persons within the holding company system are subject to examination if their operations pose enterprise risk to the insurer.
  • Amends Section 1505 of the Insurance Law as respects the reporting thresholds for sales, purchases, exchanges, loans, extensions of credit, and investments between domestic insurers and affiliates in the same holding company system. That section is further amended to require 45 days’ notice before a domestic insurer may enter into a reinsurance agreement with an affiliate (rather than the 30 days’ notice required for other affiliate transactions).
  • Amends Sections 1506, 1603, and 1710 of the Insurance Law to require insurance holding companies, domestic property/casualty insurers, and parent companies of domestic life insurers to provide the Superintendent with 30 days’ notice before divesting control in a domestic insurer.
  • Amends Sections 1604, 1608, 1712, and 1717 of the Insurance Law to bring reporting requirements for domestic property/casualty insurers and their subsidiaries and parent companies of domestic life insurers more in line with reporting requirements for insurers that are part of an insurance holding company system, including annual registration filing requirements and prior notice requirements for certain affiliate transactions.
  • Amends Section 1603 to require that a domestic property/casualty insurer not subject to Article 15 may not acquire control of another domestic insurer unless it receives the Superintendent’s prior approval. It similarly requires notice if the insurer intends to divest itself of control.
  • Amends Section 1604 to require that an authorized insurer subject to Article 16 shall register with the Superintendent and amend its registration statement within 30 days following any material change to the information provided. Section 1608 is also amended to provide that transactions involving the insurer and any subsidiary must be filed with the Superintendent for review at least 30 days beforehand (45 in the case of a reinsurance agreement).

These changes took effect on July 31, 2013, with two exceptions: (1) amendments relating to ERM and annual registration filing requirements, which become effective 90 days after that date (October 29, 2013), and (2) amendments that relate to prior notice requirements for affiliate transactions, which apply to transactions entered into on or after the law’s effective date.

Investments in Foreign States Sponsoring Terrorism (Chapter 481)

Extends existing prohibitions on the investment in the Iranian energy sector to prohibit domestic insurance companies from including investments in such businesses as admitted assets.

Indexed Universal Life Insurance Policies (Chapter 535)

Permits indexed universal life insurance policies to credit additional amounts in accordance with an equity index more frequently than annually, as long as the policy requires that the additional amounts will be credited no less frequently than every three years.

Duty of Public Adjuster to Act in Best Interests of an Insured (Chapter 546)

Establishes an affirmative duty of a public adjuster to act in the best interests of an insured when settling or negotiating an insurance claim for such insured. The adjuster and certain close relatives cannot have a financial interest in any business that the adjuster recommends to an insured for the performance of services, work, or repairs associated with the insurance claims being negotiated by the adjuster.

Topics:  Insurers, Life Insurance, Property Insurance

Published In: Insurance Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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