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New York State Seal

STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT

EMPIRE STATE PLAZA
ALBANY, NEW YORK 12257

                                              
Circular Letter No. 14 (1997)
August 1, 1997
                                          
TO: ALL INSURERS AUTHORIZED TO WRITE LIFE INSURANCE, ANNUITIES OR ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE IN NEW YORK STATE, INCLUDING ARTICLE 43 CORPORATIONS AND HEALTH MAINTENANCE ORGANIZATIONS
RE: PROCEDURAL CHANGES IN THE APPROVAL PROCESS FOR LIFE INSURANCE, ANNUITY, AND ACCIDENT AND HEALTH INSURANCE POLICY FORMS AND RATES
Pursuant to Insurance Law Section 3201, the Superintendent must
approve policy forms prior to delivery in this state to ensure conformity
with the requirements of the law, and must do so within a reasonable time
after filing.

The interests of policyholders and insurers are best served by an
approval process that is unhindered by needless delay.  Unfortunately, the 
Department regularly receives from insurers incomplete submissions and forms
which clearly are not in compliance with New York law or regulation.  These 
inadequate and defective submissions account for needless delays and 
inefficient use of the Department's limited resources which could be better
used to review and respond to properly filed and prepared submissions.

The Department is also endeavoring to improve its own processes and 
procedures to make itself more responsive to its various constituencies.

Therefore, to prevent unnecessary delays and to ensure that new 
products reach the market as expeditiously as possible, the Department will
take the following actions:

        (1)  The Department will return all product and rate submissions 
that are incomplete or which fail to include all required form, rate and 
actuarial material, including actuarial opinions and memoranda, or that
fail to comply with the Department's submission rules including those 
found in Circular Letter 6 (1963) and Sections 52.31, 52.33, and 52.40 
of Regulation 62 (11NYCRR52).  If the submission is returned, the 
Department will advise the insurer as to how the submission is defective 
and identify the submission rule that needs to be addressed.
        (2)  The Department will return all product and rate submissions 
that are not approvable because they clearly have not been drafted to 
conform to New York Insurance Law or Department rules and regulations 
or because they are clearly inconsistent with other applicable federal and 
state laws.  The specific statutes, rules and regulations to  which the 
submission must conform or with which the submission conflicts will be 
stated in writing if the submission is returned.  
        (3)  To avoid spending an excessive or disproportionate amount of 
time reviewing any product or rate submission, the Department may return 
a submission prior to completing its initial review if the submission is 
poorly organized or difficult to understand or is found to contain several 
substantive omissions or provisions which do not comply with the Insurance 
Law or Department rules and regulations.  In this instance, the reason for 
such action, any preliminary comments and other appropriate guidance will 
be provided to the insurer.
        (4)  The Department will close its submission file if a complete
written response to a Department comment letter or if other material due 
and owing from an insurer is not received within 45 days of the date of 
receipt of a comment letter or request by the Department.  If a response 
is received thereafter, the Department will reopen the file under a new 
control number.

To help facilitate the approval process, the Department encourages 
insurers to contact appropriate Department personnel prior to making their 
submission with any questions concerning submission rules and filing 
requirements or for any guidance regarding the rules, regulations or 
statutes that apply to any insurance product intended for sale in this
state.  Department personnel will be available for meetings or conference 
calls to discuss new products, substantive or procedural requirements or 
any other appropriate matter.  Initial contacts in the Life and Health 
Bureau may be made to:



        Francis F. E. Morse, for life insurance and annuity legal issues, 
        Austin J. Rinella, for accident and health insurance legal issues, 
        William B. Carmello, for life insurance and annuity actuarial and 
        rating issues,and 
        James M. Gutterman, for accident and health insurance actuarial 
        and rating issues.  

The Department wishes to remind insurers that they are responsible 
for ensuring that all forms, rate material, actuarial opinions and
memoranda, submission letters, Flesch scores, required signatures, 
explanations of variable material, and any other required items are 
provided with their initial submission.  In addition, insurers are 
responsible for making sure that products submitted for approval conform 
to the requirements of the New York Insurance Law and Department 
rules and regulations and are not inconsistent with other  applicable 
federal or state laws.  To this end, insurers should note that New York
requirements may differ from certain NAIC model rules and the rules
employed by other states.

Please direct all inquiries concerning this Circular Letter to 
Fredric L. Bodner, Assistant Deputy Superintendent and Chief,
Life & Health Bureau, New York State Insurance Department, 
Agency Building One, Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York 12257.




                                         Very truly yours,  




                                         Fredric L. Bodner, J.D.
                                         Assistant Deputy Superintendent
                                         and Chief, Life & Health Bureau