The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on September 11, 2007, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
RE: Destruction of Records After the Required Record Retention Period has Passed
After the applicable record retention period provided for in the Insurance Law and regulations promulgated thereunder has passed, may a licensee destroy its records without retaining any backup?
After the applicable record retention period has passed, neither the Insurance Law nor the regulations promulgated thereunder impose a duty on licensees to continue maintaining those records. Nevertheless, the Department recommends that licensees make prudent business decisions regarding the destruction of their business records.
The inquiry is of a general nature, without reference to particular facts.
Both the Insurance Law and regulations promulgated thereunder set forth specific periods for which licensees must retain certain records. See, e.g., N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 11, Part 243 (1996) (Regulation 152). Once the record retention period expires, however, neither the Insurance Law nor the regulations promulgated thereunder impose any further duty on a licensee to continue maintaining such records. Continued maintenance of records beyond the applicable retention period is the prerogative of the licensee. See Office of General Counsel Opinion (03-05-04). Nonetheless, the Department recommends that licensees make prudent business decisions regarding the destruction of their business records.
For further information you may contact Associate Attorney D. Monica Marsh at the New York City Office.