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

George E. Pataki
Governor

Gregory V. Serio
Superintendent

The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on December 30, 2002, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

RE: Combined Single Limit Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Policy.

Question Presented:

What is the minimum amount of liability coverage which must be provided and available under a Combined Single Limit (hereinafter "CSL") motor vehicle liability insurance policy issued in New York State?

Conclusion:

N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 311(4)(a) (McKinney Supp. 2003) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11,

§ 60-1.1(a) (1996) (Regulation 35-A), which implements Section 311(4)(a), require the separate minimum amounts of motor vehicle liability insurance policy coverage in New York: $25,000 for bodily injury of one person; and subject to the $25,000 limit for any one person, $50,000 for bodily injury of two or more persons; $50,000 for death of one person; and subject to the $50,000 limit for any one person, $100,000 for death of two or more persons; and $10,000 for property damage. The aggregate payout of the separate minimum coverage amounts under a specific fact pattern could be up to $160,000.

The current Insurance Services Office, Inc. (hereinafter "ISO") New York CSL endorsement (to the Personal Auto Policy), which implements the separate amounts of motor vehicle liability insurance policy coverage required in New York by N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 311(4)(a) (McKinney Supp. 2003) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 60-1.1(a) (1996) (Regulation 35-A), has been approved pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2307(b) (McKinney Supp. 2003). This endorsement states that a CSL motor vehicle liability insurance policy with a single liability limit amount of coverage of less than $160,000 provide $60,000 coverage for bodily injury and property damage and make up to $160,000 coverage available in the event of the death of two or more persons, bodily injury of two or more persons, and property damage of $10,000 or more. A non-ISO New York CSL endorsement, which is also approved pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2307(b) (McKinney Supp. 2003), gives the same minimum coverage.

Facts:

The inquirer did not provide any facts other than referring to the ISO motor vehicle liability insurance policy.

Analysis:

N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 311(4)(a) (McKinney Supp. 2003) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11,
§ 60-1.1(a) (1996) (Regulation 35-A), which implements Section 311(4)(a), require the separate minimum amounts of motor vehicle liability insurance policy coverage in New York: $25,000 for bodily injury of one person; and subject to the $25,000 limit for any one person, $50,000 for bodily injury of two or more persons; $50,000 for death of one person; and subject to the $50,000 limit for any one person, $100,000 for death of two or more persons; and $10,000 for property damage. The aggregate payout of the separate minimum coverage amounts under a specific fact pattern could be up to $160,000.

Paragraph 3 of Circular Letter No. 15 (1995) issued by this Department, which I have enclosed, advised insurers concerning required policy provisions for a CSL motor vehicle liability insurance policy with a single liability limit amount of coverage less than $160,000. It states:

For those insurers selling policies containing combined single limits of liability (CSL), appropriate rates should be filed with the Department for minimum CSL of $60,000 for liability and $50,000 for SUM to ensure that limits of at least $25,000 are available for liability for injury to one person in a motor vehicle accident; at least $50,000 for liability for injury to two or more persons and at least $10,000 is available for liability for property damage.

The ISO New York CSL endorsement provides minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage in two components: (A) if the amount of coverage is $160,000 or more and (B) if the amount of coverage is less than $160,000. Component (B) of the ISO New York CSL endorsement applicable to coverage less than $160,000 is quoted below:

B. If the limit of liability shown in the Schedule or in the
Declarations is less than $160,000, the Limit of Lia-
bility provision is replaced by the following:

LIMIT OF LIABILITY

The limit of liability shown in the Schedule or in the Declarations for this coverage is our maximum limit of liability for all damages resulting from any one auto accident, except those damages for "bodily injury" resulting in death. We will apply the limit of liability to first provide the separate limits required by the laws of New York for:

1. "Bodily injury" not resulting in death of any one person in
one auto accident;

2. "Bodily injury" not resulting in death of two or more people
in any one auto accident; and

3. "Property damage" in any one auto accident.

This provision will not change our total limit of liability.

In addition, our limit of liability for "bodily injury" resulting in death is as follows:

1. Up to $50,000 for "bodily injury" resulting in death of any one person in any one auto accident; and

2. Up to $100,000 for "bodily injury" resulting in death of two
or more people in any one auto accident, subject to a
$50,000 maximum for any one person.

If the limit of liability shown in the Schedule or in the Declarations is not exhausted by payment of damages for:

1. "Bodily injury" not resulting in death; or

2. "Property damage";

any remaining amounts will be used to pay damages for "bodily injury" resulting in death, to the extent the limit of liability shown in the Declarations is not increased.

The amounts provided in this entire provision are the most we will pay regardless of the number of:

1. "Insureds";

2. Claims made;

3. Vehicles or premiums shown in the Schedule or in the Declarations; or

4. Vehicles involved in the auto accident.

The non-ISO New York CSL endorsements have similar language.

Thus, based upon the separate minimum bodily injury, death, and property damage coverage required by N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 311(4)(a) (McKinney Supp. 2003) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 60-1.1(a) (1996) (Regulation 35-A), a CSL motor vehicle liability insurance policy with a single liability limit amount of coverage of less than $160,000 must, subject to the minimum statutory requirements: (1) provide $60,000 coverage for bodily injury to two or more persons and property damage and (2) make up to $160,000 coverage available in the event of the death of two or more persons, bodily injury of two or more persons, and property damage of $10,000 or more.

For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Robert Freedman at the New York City Office.