Question from an IIABNY member: I have a question in regards to a loss run request. If a former insured sends the letter addressed to the agency requesting loss runs without any policy numbers or insurance company name, is the agency obligated under New York Insurance Law to respond? Is it up to us to go back and research who the coverage was with and fill in the policy numbers and forward to the correct insurance company?
Answer: This issue pertains only to commercial lines, not personal lines. New York Insurance Law Sect. 3426(g)(2) requires an insurer to provide loss information within 10 days of receiving a request from the first-named insured or the insured's authorized agent or broker. It places no direct obligation on the agent. The Insurance Department can suspend or revoke a producer's license for using fraudulent, coercive or dishonest practices; for demonstrating incompetence; or for demonstrating untrustworthiness. To the extent that refusing to obtain loss information for a past client can reasonably be viewed as falling into one of those categories, you may have an exposure to disciplinary action. However, I don't interpret this to mean that you have to do the insured's research for him. If he gives you complete information, your duty is to forward the requests to the appropriate insurer. Other than that, I don't see that you have a legal obligation to search for carrier names and policy numbers.
One exception: If your company contracts so require, you must keep policy records for six calendar years after a policy is no longer in effect. The insured's records could conceivably fall within that time frame.