New York State Seal
STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
ONE COMMERCE PLAZA
ALBANY, NEW YORK 12257

George E. Pataki
Governor

Howard Mills
Superintendent

The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on October 3, 2005, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

RE: Peace Officer Designation of Bail Bond Agents by Superintendent of Insurance

Questions Presented:

1) What is the extent of the Superintendent’s authority to grant peace officer designation to bail bond agents acting under N.Y. Crim. Proc. §§ 530.80, 540.10(1), 570.22, and 570.42?

2) Would bail jumping be considered insurance fraud?

Conclusions:

1) The Superintendent does not have the legal authority to grant peace officer designation to bail bond agents acting under N.Y. Crim. Proc. §§ 530.80, 540.10(1), 570.22, and 570.42.

2) Unless the act of bail jumping satisfies all of the elements contained in N.Y. Penal § 176.05(1), then bail jumping would not be considered insurance fraud.

Facts:

The inquirer provided no facts.

Analysis:

The authority of the Superintendent of Insurance to designate persons as peace officers is contained in N.Y. Ins. Law § 402(b) (McKinney’s 2000) and is limited to employees of the New York State Insurance Department, Insurance Frauds Bureau. Therefore, the Superintendent is not vested with the authority to designate bail bond agents acting under N.Y. Crim. Proc. §§ 530.80, 540.10(1), 570.22, and 570.42 as peace officers.

N.Y. Penal § 176.05(1) (West, WESTLAW through L. 1998 c. 2 legislation) defines insurance fraud as follows:

A fraudulent insurance act is committed by any person who, knowingly and with intent to defraud presents, causes to be presented, or prepares with knowledge or belief that it will be presented to or by an insurer, self insurer, or purported insurer, or purported self insurer, or any agent thereof, any written statement as part of, or in support of, an application for the issuance of, or the rating of a commercial insurance policy, or certificate or evidence of self insurance for commercial insurance or commercial self insurance, or a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy or self insurance program for commercial or personal insurance which he knows to: (i) contain materially false information concerning any fact material thereto; or (ii) conceal, for the purpose of misleading, information concerning any fact material thereto.

Unless the act of bail jumping satisfies all of the elements contained in N.Y. Penal § 176.05, then bail jumping would not be considered insurance fraud.

For further information you may contact Special Counsel Athan Shinas at the Albany Office.