New York State Seal
STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
25 BEAVER STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10004

The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on November 26, 2001, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Certificates of Insurance - backdating

Questions Presented:

Are there any statutes or regulations that govern the issuance of certificates of insurance for commercial general liability policies?

Are there any statutes or regulations requiring an insurer or agent to complete such certificates with accurate information?

May an insurer or agent issue a "back-dated" certificate of insurance?

Conclusions:

Properly prepared certificates of insurance are documents used in business and are not required or regulated by statute or regulation.

Any certificate of insurance that "amends, expands or otherwise alters the terms of the applicable insurance policy constitutes a policy form, which must be filed with the Superintendent of Insurance in accordance with Section 2307(b) of the Insurance Law." (Circular Letters No. 8 (1995) and No. 15 (1997)).

No. There could be an issue of fraud or untrustworthiness concerning this misrepresentation of date.

Facts:

None presented.

Analysis:

A certificate of insurance is merely a document used in business to summarize information about insurance coverage but it is not a contract and is not required by statute or regulation. However, the certificate of insurance must contain the same information, whether delivered to the insured or on behalf of the insured to the certificate holder. It is not intended to confer to a certificate holder new or additional rights beyond what the insurance policy provides.

Any material provision in the certificate of insurance that is not contained in the policy imposes an obligation or liability not presently existing upon an insurer. Such difference would alter, expand or modify the rights between an insured or additional insured and the insurer and would constitute a policy form which must be filed with the Superintendent pursuant to N. Y. Ins. Law § 2307(b) (McKinney 2000). (See aforementioned Circular Letters). Licensed producers may not add terms or clauses to a certificate of insurance which alter, expand or otherwise modify the terms of the actual policy unless authorized by the insurer which has filed an appropriate endorsement with the Superintendent of Insurance, and obtained prior approval, if required.

For further information you may contact Associate Attorney Jeffrey A. Stonehill at the New York City Office.