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Circular Letter No. 8 (2000)

February 8, 2000

TO:

All licensed life insurers, property/casualty insurers, accident and health insurers, and insurance producer organizations

RE:

Brokers and agents authorized to market legal services insurance

Chapter 65 of the Laws of 1998 added a new paragraph 29 to subsection (a) of section 1113 of the Insurance Law effective April 1, 1999, to set forth a new kind of insurance entitled "Legal services insurance" (defined to mean insurance providing legal services or reimbursement of the cost of legal services) and also amended section 1116 of the Insurance Law (retitled as "Prepaid legal services plans and legal services insurance"). In addition to stand-alone legal services insurance companies, the law authorized life insurance companies, accident and health insurance companies, and property/casualty insurance companies to write legal services insurance as a permissible kind of insurance, after obtaining amendments to their licenses.

The purpose of this Circular Letter is to clarify licensing requirements for agents and brokers in regard to legal services insurance.

The insurance broker's license automatically includes authority to sell legal services insurance. Any licensed insurance broker may act as a broker on behalf of any insurer that is licensed to write legal services insurance.

The property/casualty agent's license automatically includes authority to sell legal services insurance. Any licensed agent appointed by a property/casualty insurer that is licensed to write legal services insurance may act as an agent on behalf of that insurer in regard to legal services insurance.

The license of a life insurance or accident and health insurance agent does not automatically authorize the agent to sell legal services insurance. However, pursuant to Section 2103(f)(1), a determination is herein made that the result of the life or accident and health insurance written examination is accepted in lieu of a separate examination for legal services insurance. Any life insurance or accident and health insurance agent appointed by a life insurer or an accident and health insurer that is licensed to write legal services insurance may act as an agent on behalf of that insurer in regard to legal services insurance. Upon renewal of each agent's license, the license will include a specific reference to legal services insurance.

Any questions regarding this Circular Letter should be directed to Kevin M. Rampe, Esq., Deputy Superintendent and General Counsel, at the address set forth above.

_____________________________
Neil D. Levin
Superintendent of Insurance

 

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