The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on July 28, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Signature Requirement.
Is it required under New York law that the signature of the insured or reinsured be placed upon an insurance policy that is delivered or issued for delivery in New York?
No. New York law does not require that the signature of the insured or reinsured be placed upon an insurance policy that is delivered or issued for delivery in New York.
No facts were provided.
In the inquiry, the inquirer used the term "countersignature" in the context of an insured or person who is reinsured signing the insurance policy. The term "countersignature," as it is used in the insurance context refers to statutory requirements, which no longer exist in New York State, that required a New York resident licensed insurance agent to sign insurance contracts sold and delivered in New York by licensed foreign and alien insurers. Such requirement was contained in former N.Y. Ins. Law § 130 (McKinney 1966), but was repealed by Chapter 279 of the Laws of 1972.
Neither the New York Insurance Law nor the regulations promulgated thereunder require that the person who is insured, or reinsured, under an insurance policy that is delivered or issued for delivery to them in New York be signed by the person who is insured or reinsured thereunder. Neither is such a signature required under Gen. Oblig. Law § 5-701 (McKinney 2001 & Supp. 2003). The foregoing statute requires that agreements be subscribed by the party to be charged (in this case the insurer or the reinsurer) or by his lawful agent if the agreement, by its terms, is not to be performed in one year from the making thereof. Thus, the authorized insurer or reinsurers signature must be affixed upon an insurance contract, which is delivered or issued for delivery in New York State.
The inquirer also asked for a reference to those statutes or regulations which "cover delivery of a policy in New York." This is a very broad question, the answer to which may be found in various provisions of the N.Y. Insurance Law, depending upon the kind of insurance in question. Furthermore, as to any particular situation, the facts surrounding the delivery or issuance for delivery could affect a determination of the question whether or not a particular policy was delivered or issued for delivery in New York. The inquirer was also advised to research the applicable case law. N.Y. Ins. Law § 1101 contains the definition of what constitutes the doing of an insurance business in New York.
For further information you may contact Associate Attorney Barbara A. Kluger at the New York City Office.