The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on December 21, 2005, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Authorized Insurers for Public Works Contractors
1. Does the New York Insurance Law require contractors who are performing public works contracts in New York to obtain the required insurance from an authorized New York insurer?
2. Is there a difference between being admitted in New York and being licensed in New York?
1. Public works contractors are not required by the Insurance Law to obtain insurance from a New York authorized insurer.
2. New York Insurance Law does not define or use the term "admitted insurer", but the term is generally used interchangeably to mean an "authorized insurer," which is an insurer authorized to do business in this state, as defined in N.Y. Ins. Law § 107(a)(10) (McKinney 2000 & 2005 Supp.)
No facts were provided.
There is no New York insurance law that prohibits a public works contractor from purchasing insurance from an unauthorized insurer. However, statutes other than the New York Insurance Law may require that public works contractors obtain insurance only from New York authorized insurers, and the municipality for which the inquirer is purchasing insurance may have laws or regulations with requirements for purchasing insurance. If the contractor wishes to purchase insurance from an unauthorized insurer, then the insured must use an excess line broker, who must comply with the applicable excess line laws and regulations.
The Insurance Law does not define an "admitted insurer", however it is often used interchangeably with "authorized insurer." N.Y. Ins. Law § 107(a)(10) (McKinney 2000 & 2005 Supp.) defines "authorized insurer" in relevant part as:
. . . an insurer authorized as such to do an insurance business in this state in compliance with this chapter, by reason of a license so to do issued and in force pursuant to the laws of this state or of a corporate charter granted and in force pursuant to the laws of this state, but not including any insurer herein exempted from compliance with the requirement that it obtain a license to do business
Thus an admitted insurer means an insurer who is authorized through licensing or corporate charter in compliance with the New York Insurance Law.
For further information please contact Principal Attorney Paul A. Zuckerman at the New York City Office.