The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on October 17, 2005, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Attorney Acting as Independent Adjuster
Does a licensed New York attorney need to be licensed as an independent adjuster in New York State in order to adjust claims in New York on behalf of an insurer?
No, a licensed New York attorney is exempt from independent adjusting licensing requirements under the Insurance law.
The inquirer is a licensed New York attorney working for a Georgia Third Party Administrator ("TPA") on behalf of an insurer as a claims adjuster, and would like to know if one needs to obtain an independent adjusters license to adjust claims in New York.
N.Y. Ins. Law § 2102 (a) (1) (McKinney 2000 & 2005 Supp.) states:
No person, firm, association or corporation shall act as an insurance producer or insurance adjuster in this state without having authority to do so by virtue of a license issued and in force pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
N.Y. Ins. Law § 2101 (g) (1) (McKinney 2000 & 2005 Supp.) states:
The term "independent adjuster" means any person, firm, association or corporation who, or which, for money, commission or any other thing of value, acts in this state on behalf of an insurer in the work of investigating and adjusting claims arising under insurance contracts issued by such insurer and who performs such duties required by such insurer as are incidental to such claims and also includes any person who for compensation or anything of value investigates and adjusts claims on behalf of any independent adjuster, except that such term shall not include:...
(F) any licensed attorney at law of this state
Accordingly a New York licensed attorney is exempt from the licensing requirements for an independent adjuster.
However this exemption does not apply to your employer, the TPA. Since it is adjusting claims through its employees such as the inquirer, it must be licensed as an independent adjuster and must comply with all other requirements as set forth in the New York Insurance Law and regulations promulgated thereunder.
For further information one may contact Principal Attorney Paul A. Zuckerman at the New York City Office.