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 March 22, 2006, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Non-resident insurance agent reciprocity

Questions Presented

(1) What are the requirements to obtain a non-resident New York insurance agent’s license to sell property/casualty, title and credit life insurance?

(2) Must a licensed New York non-resident insurance agent use a licensed resident insurance agent to sell insurance in New York?

(3) Must a licensed New York non-resident insurance agent maintain its own office or share an office in New York to do business or may it do insurance business in New York from its Puerto Rico office?

(4) Does the New York Insurance Department confer reciprocity to licensed Commonwealth of Puerto Rico insurance agents?

Conclusion

See analysis for answers.

Facts

The inquirer works for a law firm that represents an insurance agency licensed by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to sell property/casualty, title and credit life insurance. The insurance agency desires to do business in New York as a licensed non-resident insurance agent. The inquirer indicates that Puerto Rico has adopted NAIC’s Producer Licensing Model Act.

Analysis

(1) A licensed New York non-resident insurance agent may be authorized to sell life and health insurance or property/casualty insurance, depending on whether the license is obtained pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2103(a) or (b), respectively (McKinney Supp. 2006). Information on the requirements to obtain a non-resident insurance license may be found on the Department’s website at www.ins.state.ny.us. There is no specific insurance license limited to selling only credit life insurance. One must be licensed as a life insurance agent in order to sell credit life insurance. The definition of "insurance agent" excludes an agent or other representative of any title insurance company pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2101(a)(4) (McKinney Supp. 2006). Accordingly the insurance agency may sell title insurance in New York for a New York authorized title insurance corporation without obtaining a license. The non-resident license application can be done on-line.

(2) A licensed New York non-resident insurance agent is not required to employ a New York resident licensee to sell insurance in New York.

(3) A licensed New York non-resident insurance agent does not need its own New York office or to share an office in New York.

(4) N.Y. Ins. Law § 107(a)(39) (McKinney Supp. 2006) defines a "state" to include the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico whenever the word "state" appears in the Insurance Law. Reciprocity exists between Puerto Rico and New York concerning the licensing of insurance agents. Reciprocity allows licensed insurance agents in one state to become licensed in another state without taking an additional examination. See N.Y. Ins. Law § 2136 (McKinney Supp. 2006).

For further information you may contact Associate Attorney Jeffrey A. Stonehill at the New York City Office.