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 informal opinion on January 6, 2004, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: National Insurance Crime Bureau

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

1. Is the National Insurance Crime Bureau, (hereinafter NICB), an arm of law enforcement pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 406 (McKinney 2000)?

2. Is the NICB affiliated with the New York State Insurance Department’s Fraud Bureau?

3. Does the NICB operate under some other authority that would allow Country-Wide Insurance Co. to share no-fault files of insureds without an authorization for the eligible injured party or a subpoena from the NICB?

CONCLUSIONS

1. No. The NICB is a not-for-profit organization.

2. No. The NICB is not affiliated with the New York State Insurance Department’s Fraud Bureau.

3. The NICB is not part of state government, and therefore it has no grant of authority from the state to conduct investigations that would be protected by any sort of immunity provided in Article 4 of the Insurance Law.

FACTS

The inquirer works for a New York domiciliary property/casualty insurance company that is a member of the NICB, which has contacted the inquirer regarding a fraud investigation. The NICB requested a copy of records contained in a no-fault insurance file for one of your insureds. Before the inquirer responded, the inquirer wanted to know under what authority, if any, the NICB requested this information, and whether the inquirer would enjoy immunity granted to those who participate in fraud investigations pursuant to Article 4 of the Insurance Law.

ANALYSIS

According to http://www.itsecurity.com/tecsnews/oct2003/oct27.htm on the internet: "[t]he National Insurance Crime Bureau is a not-for-profit organization that receives support from approximately 1,000 property/casualty insurance companies." The NICB is not affiliated with the New York State Insurance Department’s Fraud Bureau. The NICB is not part of state government, and therefore it has no grant of authority from the state to conduct investigations that would be protected by any sort of immunity provided in Article 4 of the Insurance Law.

For more information about the NICB, one should contact the NICB directly.

For further information one may contact Senior Attorney Susan A. Dess at the New York City Office.