The flow of advisory legal opinions coming out of the New York Insurance Department’s Office of General Counsel has slowed to a trickle. Here’s what they had to say in December:
- An insurer may limit credit card use to the payment of only a certain percentage of premiums, so long as the percentage is the same for all classes of applicants and insureds under a particular insurance product.
- An owner or general contractor that has given a subcontractor a change order on a non-public construction project, which is insured by a wrap-up policy, may not require the subcontractor to increase the credit it applied to its bid.
- A retail employee may not sell optional insurance coverage to a customer who opens a store credit card, but she may secure and furnish information for the purpose of certain types of insurance, provided she does not receive a commission from the insurance sale.
- Nothing in the Insurance Law or regulations addresses whether an insurer may settle no-fault cases with one attorney when the insurer is specifically aware that another attorney is the attorney of record.
- The department’s circular pertaining to recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states applies to group policies including long-term disability, short-term disability and term life.
- An insurer must negotiate directly with an insured prior to issuing a notice of rights letter when the insurer has negotiated with a repair facility that has not been designated by the insured, and was unable to reach a settlement with that facility. The insurer’s letter must be issued when choice of repair facility was not explicitly a subject of negotiation with the motor vehicle repair facility. An insurer in a negotiation is not required to shift from its initial negotiating position on labor rates, or any other negotiable issue, so long as its initial position is taken in good faith.
The department issued other opinions pertaining to adjuster licenses, insurer-to-insurer payments in no-fault claim situations, and assets of insolvent insurers. Look for these and all other department opinions issued this decade on its Web site.