New York Proposes Regulations To Formalize Lender-Placed Insurance Rules

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On September 19, the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) proposed regulations for the rates for and placement of lender-placed insurance (LPI), and to prohibit certain LPI practices. The proposed regulations, which only would be applicable in New York, largely mirror the relief included in a series of agreements the DFS obtained earlier this year from all of the lender-placed insurers currently operating in New York. For example, the proposed regulations would prohibit insurers, producers, and/or affiliates from: (i) issuing LPI on mortgaged property serviced by an affiliate, (ii) paying commissions to a servicer or a person or entity affiliated with a servicer on LPI policies obtained by the servicer, (iii) paying contingent commissions on LPI based on underwriting profitability or loss ratios, (iv) making payments, including but not limited to the payment of expenses, to a servicer or a person or entity affiliated with a servicer in connection with securing LPI business, and (v) providing free or below cost outsources services to a servicer, person, or entity affiliated with a servicer other than practices associated with tracking functions that an insurer or its affiliate perform for the insurers’ own benefit. The regulations also would, among other things, (i) require insurers to file LPI premium rates with a permissible loss ratio of at least 62% with certain reporting and refiling requirements, (ii) establish requirements regarding the sufficiency of demonstrating voluntary coverage and provide for 15 days to make any associated refund, and (iii) establish requirements relating to the notifications sent to borrowers before issuing LPI. The proposed regulations are set to take effect 30 days after they are published in the State Register.