The office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on November 21, 2001, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Certificates of Insurance - filing of
Are insurers required to file their "Certificates of Insurance" with the Insurance Department?
No. The Insurance Department does not require that insurers provide or file their "Certificates of Insurance" with the Department.
The inquirer is in the process of preparing a request for proposal for a contractor to maintain and service the sprinkler system in his building. The inquirer intends to require that the contractor demonstrate its maintenance of the required insurance and limits by using a Certificate of Insurance and had heard about a "Form 576". He wishes to know if the Department has on file/record the "Form 576".
A Certificate of Insurance form is often used in the commercial context as proof that a policy of insurance is in effect. It is usually a brief summary of the essential terms, conditions and duration of the contract of insurance that is in effect between the insured(s) and the insurer. The Certificate of Insurance form is a business form rather than a statutory or regulatory form. Furthermore, the Department is not aware of the "Form 576" to which the inquirer refers.
Since the Certificate of Insurance is not considered a policy form (which generally has to be approved by the Superintendent) there is no requirement that the insurer file it with the Insurance Department or obtain the Superintendents prior approval for its use. If, however, the certificate amends, expands or alters the terms of the actual policy, it would have to be filed with the Superintendent pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2307(b) (McKinney 2000).
For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Adiza Mohammed at the New York City Office.