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 May 24, 2004, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Internet advertising

Question Presented

What are the laws and regulations that apply to marketing and selling major medical insurance on the internet?

Conclusion

The New York Insurance Law applies to the sale of all insurance in New York State, whether done in person or on the internet. In order to solicit or sell major medical insurance in New York, the person soliciting or selling on behalf of the insurer, must be licensed as an insurance agent or broker in New York, and the major medical insurance must be provided by an insurance company that is authorized to do an insurance business in New York.

Facts

No facts were provided.

Analysis

As no specific facts were provided, the Department can only respond with general information. N.Y. Ins. Law § 1101 (McKinney’s Supp. 2004) defines those acts that constitute doing an insurance business in New York State. N.Y. Ins. Law §1102 (McKinney’s Supp. 2004) prohibits a person, firm, association, corporation or joint stock company from doing an insurance business in this state unless authorized by a license or exempted from such requirement. N.Y. Ins. Law § 2102 (Ch. 687 of the Laws of 2003) prohibits any person from acting as an agent or broker without a license. N.Y. Ins. Law § 2117(a) (McKinney’s Supp. 2004) prohibits any person from acting as an agent on behalf of an unauthorized insurer in soliciting, negotiating or otherwise effectuating or placing risks with an unauthorized insurer, or in any way or manner aiding an unauthorized insurer in effecting any insurance or contract. N.Y. Ins. Law § 2122 (McKinney 2000) prohibits any person from calling attention to an unauthorized insurer by advertisements or public announcements in this state whether via the internet or other means. N.Y. Ins. Law § 3201(b)(1) (McKinney’s Supp. 2004), which is applicable to major medical insurance, provides that "[n]o policy form shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this state unless it has been filed with and approved by the superintendent. . . . "

In conclusion, in order to solicit or sell major medical insurance in New York, the person soliciting or selling on behalf of the insurer, must be licensed as an insurance agent or broker in New York, and the major medical insurance must be provided by an insurance company that is authorized to do an insurance business in New York.

A copy of Circular Letter No. 5 (2001), which addresses advertisements, referrals and solicitations on the internet, a copy of Circular Letter No. 33 (1999), which address the use of electronic signatures and records in connection with the marketing and sale of insurance by means of electronic commerce, and two additional Office of General Counsel opinions, which might be helpful, were attached.

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