Frequently Asked Questions
Service of legal process or legal documents on insurance companies, fraternal benefit societies, registered risk retention groups, registered purchasing groups and licensed life settlement providers via the Superintendent of Financial Services (“Superintendent”).
Who may be served with legal process under the Insurance Law by serving the Superintendent?
Answer: Legal process (“process”) may be served upon the Superintendent on behalf of an insurance company or fraternal benefit society authorized (i.e. “licensed”) in New York (see Insurance Law Section 1212), or risk retention group registered in New York (see Insurance Law Section 5904), with respect to a contract delivered or issued for delivery, or upon a cause of action arising in New York. Legal process may also be served on the Superintendent on behalf of an unauthorized (i.e. “unlicensed”) insurance company (see Insurance Law Section 1213) when it engages in certain activities specified in Section 1213. In addition, legal documents, as well as process, may be served upon the Superintendent on behalf of either a registered purchasing group (see Insurance Law Section 5908) or a licensed life settlement provider (see Insurance Law Section 7803).
The Department of Financial Services (“Department”) does NOT accept service of process under the Insurance Law for actions against insurance groups or fleets, the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnity Corporation, the State Insurance Fund, insurance agents and brokers, insurance adjusters, or health maintenance organizations or other persons or entities not described above.
What is considered “process” in the context of service upon the Superintendent?
Answer: Process consists of the papers used to commence a lawsuit (e.g., a summons, notice of petition, order to show cause) pursuant to which a party receives formal notice to appear or respond in court.
Process does NOT include subpoenas, motions, or any other pleadings in a pending lawsuit that are not the initial papers described above.
What are considered “legal documents” in the context of service upon the Superintendent?
Answer: Legal documents are papers issued in the course of the lawsuit commenced by service on the Superintendent, such as subpoenas, motions and pleadings.
How is service pursuant to the Insurance Law made upon the Superintendent?
Answer: Service pursuant to the Insurance Law may be made by mailing or delivering the papers to the Department.
- By mail: addressed to New York State Department of Financial Services, Corporate Affairs Unit, One Commerce Plaza, Albany, NY 12257.
- In person: to the Office of General Counsel at the New York City office of the Department located at One State Street (20th Floor), New York, NY 10004, or to the Corporate Affairs Unit in the Albany Office of the Department, One Commerce Plaza (20th Floor), Albany, NY 12257.
What else is needed to effect service?
Answer: If the action is being brought against a licensed insurance company or fraternal benefit society, you must provide one copy of the papers and a $40.00 check or money order made payable to “Superintendent of Financial Services”.
If the action is being brought against an unlicensed insurance company, you must provide two copies of the papers with the name and last known address of the principal place of business of the insurance company being served and a $40 check or money order made payable to “Superintendent of Financial Services”.
If the action is being brought against a licensed life settlement provider, you must provide two copies of the papers and a $40 check or money order made payable to “Superintendent of Financial Services”.
If the action is being brought against a registered risk retention group or a registered purchasing group, you must provide two copies of the papers and a $20 check or money order made payable to “Superintendent of Financial Services”.
How do I find out whether or not an insurance company is licensed in New York?
Answer: The Department’s web site contains an insurance company search facility of all insurance companies licensed in New York State. Go to Insurance Company Search.
What is the effective date of service?
Answer: Service will be effective on the date the papers are received by the Department provided that you have complied with all statutory requirements for effectuation of service.
Does a separate check or money order for the service fee have to be submitted for each party being served?
Answer: The Department will accept one check or money order for multiple insurance companies being served. However, if payment is made with a single check or money order and the papers are unacceptable as to any one of the parties being served (for example, if the name of the insurance company is incorrect), all of the papers you attempt to serve will be returned, meaning that service of process will not have been effected upon any of the companies.