The purpose of this Circular Letter is to remind insurers
and fraternal benefit societies of certain provisions in the Insurance Law concerning war
risk exclusions for the payment of life insurance death benefits.
- War Risk Exclusion; Notification Pursuant to Section 336.
Prior to a life insurer commencing the issuance of life
insurance policies which contain any provision that restricts or excludes payment of the
life insurance death benefit in the event of death as the result of war or the special
hazards incident to service as defined in subsection (c) of Section 3203 of the Insurance
Law, such insurer shall notify the superintendent specifying how, when, where and to which
class of persons such provision will apply and shall also notify the superintendent when
it ceases issuing such policies. The superintendent shall make such information known to
the public in such manner and at such times as shall be determined by the superintendent.
Notice of War Exclusion Must Appear on Face
Page Pursuant to Section 3201(c)(4).
The superintendent shall not approve any life insurance policy
form containing any war or travel exclusion or restriction, for delivery or issuance for
delivery in this state, unless such policy form shall have printed or stamped across its
face in red and in capital letters not smaller than twelve point type the following:
"Read your policy (certificate) carefully.
"Certain (war, travel) risks are not assumed.
(state which or both)
In case of any doubt write your company (society) for further explanation."
Legislative Intent in Permitting War
Exclusions Pursuant to Section 3203(c)(4).
In permitting war exclusions, it is the legislative intent
that such exclusions are not to be construed or interpreted as exclusions because of the
status of the insured as a member of any armed forces or attached civilian units, or
because of the presence of the insured as a civilian in a combat area or area adjacent
thereto. Such permissible exclusions shall be construed and interpreted according to the
fair import of their terms so as not to exclude deaths due to diseases or accidents which
are common to the civilian population and are not attributable to special hazards to which
a person serving in such forces or units is exposed in the line of duty.
- Termination of War Risk Exclusions Pursuant to Section
Any war exclusion shall terminate six months after the end of
the war in which the insured was engaged or the war which the insured was likely to engage
in at the time of application for this policy, after the discharge, release or separation
of the insured from active military service, after the demobilization of the insured, or
after the insured permanently leaves the war area, whichever occurs first. The end of war
shall be determined by an order of the president of the United States or by federal law or
shall be deemed to occur on the effective date of an agreement or declaration to end all
hostilities which has been adopted or accepted by all armed forces involved therein, or in
the absence of such an agreement or declaration at the end of ninety continuous days from
the end of all hostilities.
- Notice of War Restrictions in Applications Pursuant to
Section 45.1 of Regulation 19 (11 NYCRR 45).
All insurers writing life insurance policies subject to Section 3203 and all fraternal
benefit societies writing life insurance certificates subject to Section 4510 which
contain war restrictions are required to insert in their application forms a notice that
war restrictions will be included in such policies or certificates.
Please direct all
inquiries to Kathleen A. Nelligan, Chief Insurance Attorney, Life Bureau Suite
1910, State of New York Insurance Department, One Commerce Plaza, Albany, New York 12257