The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on January 7, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Advertising requirements
Must an advertisement that lists specific rates available for insurance from particular insurers, provide the full name of each insurer from which such rate is available, and the location of such insurers principal office?
Yes, pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2122(b) (McKinney 2002) such an advertisement must provide the full name of each insurer from which such rate is available, and the location of such insurers principal office.
The inquirer works for an insurance agency that mass mailed to liquor licensees an advertisement for bond renewals. In these advertisements, the agency quoted specific rates at which it would sell the bonds without mentioning the insurance companies that were selling the bonds. In response to a complaint filed against the inquirers agency, the inquirer received a letter from the Departments Consumer Services Bureau stating that such advertisements violated N.Y. Ins. Law § 2122(b) (McKinney 2002) because of the specific rate quotations.
Notwithstanding N.Y. Ins. Law § 2122(b) (McKinney 2002), the inquirer wanted to know if the names of such insurers had to be provided in view of the fact that there exists more than one company that will write a bond for the same price. Because of this, the inquirer felt that the inquirer did not need to list each and every company from which the inquirers advertised rates were available. The inquirer wanted a legal opinion based on these facts.
N.Y. Ins. Law § 2122(b) (McKinney 2002) states in the relevant part:
Every agent of any insurer and every insurance broker shall, in all advertisements, . . . , which refer to an insurer, set forth therein the name in full of the insurer referred to and the name of the city, town or village in which it has its principal office in the United States.
As stated above, the inquirers advertisement referred to specific rates, which were based on information provided to you by particular insurers. If an advertisement refers to specific rates provided by particular insurers, even if several insurers provide that rate, N.Y. Ins. Law § 2122(b) (McKinney 2002) requires that the statutorily required information be included in the advertisement.
For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Susan Dess at the New York City Office.