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 July 29, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Signing Blank or Incomplete Insurance Forms

Question Presented:

Is there a New York statute or regulation prohibiting an insurance agent from signing or allowing an applicant to sign a blank or incomplete form pertaining to insurance?

Conclusion:

There is no specific statutory or regulatory provision prohibiting such premature signature. However, this practice would most likely violate the wording of the insurance document itself and the requirement of agents to act with trustworthiness or competency within the meaning of N.Y. Ins. Law § 2110 (McKinney 2000).

Facts:

None were presented.

Analysis:

There is no specific statutory or regulatory provision prohibiting such a practice. However, an insurance application or other document that requires an insured’s signature usually provides that by the act of signing, the insured attests to the truth and accuracy of the contents of the form, often under penalties of perjury. It would defeat the intent and purpose of this safeguard against dishonest or fraudulent information for an insured to be asked to sign a form in blank or with information to be added later. Such office practice could result in a licensee or other person completing the form with incorrect or fraudulent information. Depending upon the circumstances, such activity could constitute untrustworthiness or incompetency and may result in the revocation of the offending agent’s license.

For further information you may contact Associate Attorney Jeffrey A. Stonehill at the New York City Office