The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on October 4, 2006, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Independent Adjusters
Must a non-New York claims management company that adjusts New York claims be licensed as an independent adjuster even though the individual adjusters themselves have such a license?
Yes, a non-New York claims management company that adjusts New York claims must be licensed as an independent adjuster even though the individual adjusters themselves have such a license.
No facts were provided. Yours was a general inquiry.
Any person or entity that acts as an insurance adjuster in New York must obtain the appropriate license from the New York State Insurance Department. N.Y. Ins. Law § 2101(g) (1) (McKinney 2006) defines the term "independent adjuster", in pertinent part, as follows:
(g)(1) [A]ny 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.
N.Y. Ins. Law § 2102(a)(1) (McKinney 2006) provides, in pertinent part, that "(a)(1) No person, firm, association or corporation shall act as an . . . 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." Accordingly the corporation as well as each employee engaged as an independent adjuster must be licensed.
Further, N.Y. Ins. Law § 2108(c) (McKinney 2006), regarding the licensing of adjusters, states as follows:
(1) The superintendent may issue an independent adjuster's license or a public adjuster's license to any person, firm, association or corporation, hereinafter designated as licensee, who, or which, is trustworthy and competent to act as an adjuster in such manner as to safeguard the interests of the people of this state and who, or which, has complied with the prerequisites herein prescribed.
(2) A license issued to a corporation may name as sub-licensees only the officers and directors of such corporation, and a license issued to a firm or association may name as sub-licensees only the individual members of such firm or association. Each sub-licensee named as such in the license issued to a firm, association or corporation must be qualified to obtain a license as an independent adjuster or as a public adjuster, as the case may be, and for each such sub-licensee a fee must be paid at the times and at the rate hereinafter specified. Each such sub-licensee shall be authorized, pursuant to such license, to act as an independent adjuster or as a public adjuster, as the case may be, only on behalf of the licensee.
Only officers and directors of the firm may be named as sub-licensees, and every corporation must have at least one sub-licensee. The firm may utilize employees who are not officers or directors to adjust claims so long as the employee is individually licensed and is supervised by the sub-licensee.
For further information you may contact Principal Attorney Paul A. Zuckerman at the New York City Office.