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 April 5, 2002, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

RE: Bail Bonds

Question Presented:

Does the New York Insurance Law permit a court to reject a bail bond from an insurer that is licensed to do a bail bond business?

Conclusion:

Yes. Pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 6803(b) (McKinney 2001-2002), a court may, under certain specified circumstances, refuse to accept such a bond from such a licensee.

Facts:

Attorney A represents an agent that is licensed to act on behalf of an insurer doing a bail bond business under the provisions of New York Insurance Law Section 6802 and that is in "good standing" with the Superintendent. Attorney A states that clerks of certain upstate New York county courts "limit who can write bail bonds within their jurisdictions." Attorney A has asked generally whether a court is permitted to "limit a licensee from writing bail bonds."

Analysis:

New York Insurance Law Article 68 contains the provisions relating to bail bonds. N.Y. Ins. Law § 6803(a) (McKinney 2001-2002) states as follows:

An insurance corporation engaged in the business of giving bail in a city containing a population of more than one hundred seventy-five thousand inhabitants, according to the last preceding federal census or state enumeration, shall file with the district attorney of each county contained in such city or in which such a city is contained, the clerks of the supreme and county courts and the clerk of the criminal court of the city of New York, certified statements of the names of all persons authorized to execute bail bonds on its behalf or to solicit such business as agent, together with a certificate duly executed by the superintendent, certifying with respect to each such person, that such person has been licensed by the superintendent pursuant to section six thousand eight hundred two of this article.

N.Y. Ins. Law § 6803(b) (McKinney 2001-2002) states as follows:

The court or other public officer concerned in the matter may examine under oath any insurer doing a bail bond business or a depositor of security for bail, or the officer or agent of any such insurer or depositor proposing to execute a bail bond, or to make such deposit, as to the indemnity, if any, deposited or otherwise provided directly or indirectly against loss by reason of the deposit or bail bond and as to the fee charged for the giving of such bond. The court or other public officer concerned in the matter may refuse to accept such bond or deposit if satisfied that any portion of such security has been feloniously obtained by the defendant, or that the provisions of this or any other section of law have been violated, or that the person or persons indemnifying such insurer or depositor shall have within a period of one month prior thereto given indemnification or security for like purpose in more than two cases not arising out of the same transaction and that such person is not duly licensed by the superintendent in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

Pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 6803(b) (McKinney 2001-2002), the upstate New York county courts to which Attorney A has referred in his letter may refuse to accept a bail bond from an insurer that is licensed to do a bail bond business if, after examining the insurer under oath, they become satisfied that any portion of the security being deposited for bail has been feloniously obtained by the defendant. The courts may also refuse to accept the bond if they become satisfied that the provisions of any section of law have been violated, including the provisions set forth in N.Y. Ins. Law § 6803(a) (McKinney 2001-2002) that require an insurer doing a bail bond business in a city with a population of more than 175,000 inhabitants to file, with certain district attorneys and the clerks of certain courts, statements of the names of certain persons authorized to act on its behalf and a certificate certifying that each of such persons has been licensed by the Superintendent. Finally, the courts may refuse to accept the bond if they become satisfied that the person indemnifying the insurer against loss has given such indemnification or has given security for bail in more than two cases not arising out of the same transaction within the previous month, and that such person is not duly licensed by the Superintendent.

For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Ethan G. Wolfe at the New York City Office.