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 opinion on March 3, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Recommendation of an auto body shop to the insured by an insurance agent who works exclusively for one insurer

Question Presented

Whether the New York State Insurance Law or Regulations promulgated thereunder would prevent an insurance agent who works exclusively for one insurer from recommending an auto body shop to the insured that is not on the list of specified auto body shops provided by the insurer to the insurance agent?

Conclusion

No. The New York State Insurance Law and Regulations promulgated thereunder do not prevent an insurance agent from recommending an auto body shop to the insured that is different than any of those on the insurer's specified list of auto body shops provided to the insurance agent.

Facts

The inquirer is an insurance agent who works exclusively for one insurer that writes automobile insurance. In the situation the inquirer poses, an insured requests that an insurance agent of the insurer recommend to them an auto body shop. The insurer has asked its insurance agents to recommend an auto body shop from a specified list of auto body shops. The inquirer further represents that the insurer does not require that the insured use one of the auto body shops on such list.

Analysis

N.Y. Ins. Law § 2610 (McKinney 2000) states:

(a) Whenever a motor vehicle collision or comprehensive loss shall have been suffered by an insured, no insurer providing collision or comprehensive coverage therefor shall require that repairs be made to such vehicle in a particular place or shop or by a particular concern.

(b) In processing any such claim (other than a claim solely involving window glass), the insurer shall not, unless expressly requested by the insured, recommend or suggest repairs be made to such vehicle in a particular place or shop or by a particular concern.

This provision does not address or prevent an insurance agent from recommending an auto body shop to the insured that is different than any of those specified on the insurer's list of auto body shops provided to the insurance agent. However, the insurance agent's contract with the insurer may govern the question of whether the insurance agent may recommend an auto body shop that is not on the insurer's list.

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