The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on February 7, 2006, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Anti-arson Application
Does the anti-arson application found in N.Y. Ins. Law § 3403 (McKinney 2000 & 2006 Supp.) and N.Y. Comp. Codes Rules & Regs. tit. 11, § 62.4 (Regulation 96) apply to the State of New York or municipalities?
Cities that have a population of less than 400,000 persons as of the 1970 census are exempt from the anti-arson application. The State of New York is not exempt from the application.
This is a general inquiry.
Section 3493 of the Insurance Law and Regulation 96 require that an anti-arson application be completed by an applicant for new or renewal policies or binders covering the peril of fire or explosion. Section 3403(g) and Regulation 96 provide two exceptions to the requirement:
(1) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any insurance policy or contract covering the peril of fire or explosion with respect to owner-occupied real property used predominantly for residential purposes which consists of not more than four dwelling units.
(2) The provisions of this section shall only apply to cities with a population over four hundred thousand persons according to the nineteen hundred seventy census, except that within a reasonable time after receiving a petition by the governing board of a local municipal corporation as those terms are defined in article one of the general municipal law, the superintendent shall mandate the use of the anti-arson application within specific designations contained in such petition.
Thus, a city of less than 400,000 persons as per the 1970 census is exempt. However, there is no exemption for the State of New York. The Department has previously opined in a letter to the Office of General Services that it must complete the anti-arson application when purchasing insurance on behalf of the state.
For further information one may contact Supervising Attorney Sam Wachtel at the New York City Office.