The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on January 15, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Standards of Record Retention
Is an insurance company required to keep on file at its Home Office a hard copy of the insurance license of each of its appointed agents?
There is no requirement under the Insurance Law that an insurer keep a hard copy of its agents licenses.
The requirements for maintaining licensing records are contained in N. Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, Part 243 (1996) (Regulation 152). See also Department Circular Letter No. 22 (2002).
None were presented.
N. Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 243.2(a) (1996) (Regulation 152) provides that every insurer must maintain records as described therein, including producer licensing records. In addition, an insurer must maintain "[a] licensing record for six calendar years after the relationship is terminated for each Insurance Law licensee with which the insurer establishes a relationship. Licensing records shall be maintained so as to show clearly the dates of appointment and termination of each licensee." N. Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 243.2(b)(5).
N. Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, § 243.3 describes the standards for maintenance and reproduction of records. Records and indices of records required to be maintained under the Regulation may be maintained in any durable medium as defined in § 243.1(c). Section 243.2(e) of the Regulation requires that records, including a producer licensing record, be readily available and easily accessible to the Superintendent pursuant to N. Y. Ins. Law § 310 (McKinney 2000), that it be in a readable form, and that upon request of the Superintendent " ... the insurer shall provide a hard copy of the record, or, if the record is maintained in a medium which is used by the superintendent, the insurer may provide the record in that medium."
In addition, after December 1, 2002, pursuant to Circular Letter No. 22 (2002) re: "Electronic Appointments," appointments of currently licensed New York agents made by insurers must be sent electronically to the Department. The insurer would be able to view an electronic report that tells it what appointments were made. Terminations may still be submitted by paper or through the web site.
For further information one may contact Associate Attorney Jeffrey A. Stonehill at the New York City Office.