New York State Seal
STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
25 BEAVER STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10004

George E. Pataki
Governor

Howard Mills
Acting Superintendent

The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on February 8, 2005, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

RE: Countersignature on Insurance Policy

Question Presented:

Is a countersignature required on a business liability insurance policy that is issued in New York on a New York risk, and which is insured by a New York domestic insurer?

Conclusion:

No. There is nothing in the Insurance Law to require a countersignature on a business liability insurance policy that is issued in New York on a New York risk, and which is insured by a New York domestic insurer.

Facts:

An insured received his policy from a New York domestic insurer, insuring him against liability on New York risks and sold to him through a New York insurance agency. The policy has a clause that reads: "In witness whereof, the Company has caused this policy to be signed by its President and Secretary, but if required by state law, this policy shall not be valid unless countersigned by a duly authorized representative of the Company." (Emphasis added). The insured’s policy had no countersignature on it.

Analysis:

N.Y. Ins. Law § 310 (McKinney 1966) was repealed in 1972. It had required a countersignature on insurance policies by a N.Y. resident licensed insurance agent. That repealed statute only applied to licensed foreign or alien insurers, not domestic insurers. The policy here did not itself require a countersignature but conditioned any such requirement upon the existence of an applicable New York statute. There is no New York statute requiring a domestic insurer like the one in question to place a countersignature on an insurance policy. This lack of statutory requirement is why the insured’s policy did not contain a countersignature.

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