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 February 17, 2006, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

RE: Obligations of American Institutions, N.Y. Ins. Law § 1404(a)(2)

Question Presented:

Do life insurance contracts qualify as obligations of American institutions under N.Y. Ins. Law § 1404(a)(2) (McKinney 2000)?

Conclusion:

No, life insurance contracts do not qualify as obligations of American institutions under N.Y. Ins. Law § 1404(a)(2)(A) (McKinney 2000).

Facts:

This was a general inquiry and no specific facts were provided.

Analysis:

N.Y. Ins. Law § 1404(a)(2)(A) (McKinney 2000) states:

(a) In addition to the investments specified in subsection (b) hereof, but excluding any investment prohibited by the provisions of paragraph one, three, four, six, eight, nine or ten of subsection (a) of section one thousand four hundred seven of this article, the reserve investments of a domestic insurer authorized to make investments under the authority of this section shall consist of the following:

(2) Obligations of American institutions.

(A) Obligations which are issued by any solvent American institution or which are assumed or guaranteed by any solvent American institution (other than an insurance company) and which are not in default as to principal or interest provided such obligations:

(i) are adequately secured by collateral security having a market value not less than the principal amount thereof and have investment qualities and characteristics wherein the speculative elements are not predominant, or

(ii) are rated A or higher (or the equivalent thereto) by a securities rating agency recognized by the superintendent, or if not so rated, are similar in structure and in all material respects to other obligations of the same institution which are so rated, or

(iii) are insured by one or more authorized insurance companies (other than the investing insurer or any parent, subsidiary or affiliate of such insurer) who are licensed to insure obligations in this state and, after considering such insurance, are rated Aaa (or the equivalent thereto) by a securities rating agency recognized by the superintendent, or

(iv) have been given the highest quality designation by the Securities Valuation Office of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

N.Y. Ins. Law § 107(a)(33) (McKinney Supp. 2006) states:

(a) In this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

* * *

(33) "Obligations" includes bonds, debentures, notes and other evidences of indebtedness (whether or not liability for payment extends beyond the security therefore) as well as participation interests in any of the foregoing.

Pursuant to the definition of "obligations" in N.Y. Ins. Law § 107(a)(33), and based on the context in which the word "obligations" is used in § 1404(a)(2)(A), a life insurance policy does not qualify as an "obligation" under N.Y. Ins. Law § 1404(a)(2)(A).

For further information you may contact Associate Attorney Sally Geisel at the New York City Office.