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 November 29, 2004 representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Broker Licensing

Question Presented:

May a licensed property/casualty insurance broker act as a broker with regard to a life insurance policy under the property/casualty license without being licensed as a life insurance broker?

Conclusion:

No, N.Y. Ins. Law § 2104 provides that an insurance broker must be licensed under the life insurance line of authority in order to act as a broker with regard to a life insurance policy.

Facts:

No specific facts were provided.

Analysis:

N.Y. Ins. Law § 2104 (b)(1) (McKinney Cum. Interim Update Pamphlet A 2004) specifies the two lines of authority under which an insurance broker may act:

Such license shall confer upon the licensee authority to act in this state as insurance broker, and upon every natural person named as sub-licensee in such license authority to act in this state as insurance broker in the name of and on behalf of such licensee, with respect to the following lines of authority:

(A) life insurance, variable life and variable annuity products, accident and health insurance and sickness or any other line of authority deemed to be similar by the superintendent, including for this purpose, health maintenance organization contracts and legal services insurance; or(B) any and every line of authority, except life insurance and variable life and variable annuity products. (Emphasis added)

N.Y. Ins. Law § 2102 (b)(2), (3)(McKinney 2000) prohibits acting without a license, and provides:

(2) No person, firm, association or corporation shall use any other designation or title which is likely to mislead the public or shall hold himself or itself out in any manner as having particular insurance qualifications other than those for which he may be otherwise licensed or otherwise qualified.

(3) Unless licensed as an insurance agent, insurance broker or insurance consultant with respect to the relevant kinds of insurance, no person, firm, association or corporation shall receive any money, fee, commission or thing of value for examining, appraising, reviewing or evaluating any insurance policy, annuity or pension contract, plan or program or shall make recommendations or give advice with regard to any of the above. (Emphasis added)

Property/casualty insurance and life insurance are two separate and distinct lines of authority. A property/casualty insurance broker has only the authority under N.Y. Ins. Law § 2104 (b)(1)(B) to act as a broker with regard to any and every line of authority except life insurance, and variable life and variable annuity products. Accordingly, a licensed property/casualty insurance broker would also need to obtain licensing pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2104 (b)(1)(A) in order to act as a broker with regard to life insurance. A property/casualty insurance broker is prohibited from acting without a license under N.Y. Ins. Law § 2102.

For further information you may contact Principal Attorney Donald Carroll at the New York City office.