The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on December 16, 2003, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Web Site Disclosure Requirements for Insurance Agents and Brokers.
Pursuant to the New York Insurance Law, is an insurance agent or broker that advertises or does business on the internet required to disclose certain information about itself on its web site?
The New York Insurance Law and the regulations promulgated thereunder do not require such disclosure.
The inquirer stated that Section 1726 of the California Insurance Code requires licensed insurance agents who advertise on the internet to identify their license number, state of domicile and principal place of business and name as it appears on the insurance license. The inquirer would like to know whether there is an analogous requirement under the New York Insurance Law.
The New York Insurance Law and the regulations promulgated thereunder do not require such disclosure. However, N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs tit. 11, § 34.5 (Regulation 125) provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
In a headquarters location and each satellite office, the establishing agent or broker must prominently display the license or licenses of the supervising person or persons responsible for that place of business.
An insurance agents or brokers web site is often maintained as an adjunct to its headquarters location or satellite office. Therefore, it would be prudent for such agent or broker to provide certain licensing information on its web site. For securities purposes, rather than displaying the actual license, the agent or broker may extract certain information that appears on its license, such as its name, business address, state of licensing, type of license, license number and expiration date.
For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Pascale Joasil at the New York City Office.