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

George E. Pataki
Governor

Howard Mills
Superintendent

The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on May 17, 2005 representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Investigating Claims

Question Presented:

Does the Insurance Law provide a right for an insurer to request and receive a copy of an accident report from a police department on behalf of an insured?

Conclusion:

Nothing in the Insurance Law creates an automatic right for an insurer to request and receive a copy of an accident report from a police department on behalf of an insured. In addition, nothing in the Insurance Law requires a police department to provide a copy of a police accident report to an insurer.

Facts:

A private investigator was hired by ABC Insurance Company to obtain a police accident report regarding a particular accident from the Nassau County Police Department. The police department denied the investigator’s request stating that the department requires an authorization from one of the drivers involved in the accident.

Analysis:

Nothing in the Insurance Law creates an automatic right for an insurer to request and receive a copy of an accident report from a police department on behalf of an insured. The insurer could obtain an authorization from the insured for third parties to release information to the insurer to facilitate the processing of claims.

However, regardless of whether an insurer has obtained such an authorization, nothing in the Insurance Law requires a police department to provide a copy of a police accident report to an insurer. We can not opine regarding whether any other law may impose such a requirement.

This opinion is limited to an interpretation of the Insurance Law and we are not offering any opinion with respect to any other law.

For further information you may contact Assistant Counsel Brenda M. Gibbs at the Albany Office.