The Office of General Counsel issued the following informal opinion on January 28, 2002, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
RE: No-Fault Claims Adjusting and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, §§ 420.0-420.24 (2001) (Regulation 169)
May an employee of an insurance company who is adjusting a claimants no-fault claim share the claimants nonpublic personal information with another employee in the same company, who is adjusting the claimants 3rd party bodily injury claim?
Yes. With respect to the sharing of nonpublic personal financial information, N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, §§ 420.0-420.24 (2001) (Regulation 169) is inapplicable because both adjusters are employees of the same company. With respect to nonpublic personal health information, the sharing would be permitted under N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.17(b) (2001).
No facts were presented. The inquiry is general in nature.
N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.0(c) (2001) provides:
In the instant case, the information is not being shared with a nonaffiliated third party, rather it is being shared between two adjusters who are both employees of the same company. Consequently, the provisions of Regulation 169 pertaining to the sharing of nonpublic personal financial information are not applicable.
With respect to the sharing of nonpublic personal health information, N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.17(a)(2001) provides:
A licensee shall not disclose nonpublic personal health information about a consumer or customer unless an authorization is obtained from the consumer or customer whose nonpublic personal health information is sought to be disclosed.
However, N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 420.17(b) (2001) permits nonpublic personal health information to be disclosed by a licensee, without authorization from the consumer or customer, during the performance of certain insurance functions. Included in these insurance functions are claims administration and claims adjustment and management. In the instant case, because the disclosure of the claimants nonpublic personal health information would be for the purpose of claims administration and claims adjustment and management, an authorization would not have to be obtained from the claimant before the nonpublic personal health information could be shared between adjusters.
This opinion is limited to an interpretation of the Insurance Law. It does not address whether any other law may operate to prevent the sharing of the claimants nonpublic personal information between the companys two employee adjusters.
For further information you may contact Supervising Attorney Joan Siegel at the New York City Office.