The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on June 16, 2000 representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Automobile Certificates of Insurance
Is an auto insurer required under New York Insurance Law to provide its insureds with certificates of insurance of the ACORD-form type?
There is no requirement under New York Insurance Law for an auto insurer to provide its insureds with certificates of insurance of the ACORD-form type.
A vehicle leasing business contractually obligates its lessees to provide certificates of insurance evidencing that auto insurance coverage is in place. The term "certificates of insurance", is interpreted to require the ACORD-form type of certificate, which is merely a business, rather than statutory or regulatory, form. The question has arisen as to whether an insurer is required under New York Law to provide its insureds with such certificates of insurance, particularly when insureds are under contract with a third party to provide the third party with such certificates.
N.Y. Veh. and Traf. Law Art. 6 (McKinney 1996 & Supp. 2000) permits "certificates of insurance" to be used for motor vehicle registration purposes. However, the Article 6 "certificates of insurance" need only evidence auto liability insurance and are not similar to the ACORD form.
There are no statutory provisions under New York Insurance Law, nor regulations related thereto, that require an auto insurer to provide certificates of insurance of the ACORD-form type to or on behalf of its insureds. Unless an insurer has contractually obligated itself to provide its insureds with such certificates (for example, by stating as much in its insurance policies), it is not legally required to do so.
For further information contact Attorney Sally Geisel of the Departments New York office.