New York State Seal
STATE OF NEW YORK
INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
25 BEAVER STREET
NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10004

Eliot Spitzer
Governor

Eric R. Dinallo
Superintendent

The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on December 21, 2007 representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: Insurance Department Notice of Convictions

Questions Presented:

1. What is the procedure by which a licensee subject to New York Insurance Law Article 21 shall notify the Insurance Department of criminal convictions?

2. Does the Insurance Department require notice of all criminal convictions, including driving while ability impaired, and driving while intoxicated or while ability impaired by drugs offenses?

Conclusions:

1. New York Insurance Law § 2110(j) states that a licensee subject to Article 21 shall report any criminal prosecution to the Superintendent of Insurance within thirty days of the initial pretrial hearing date. In practice, this takes the form of the submission of a report to the Insurance Department’s Licensing Bureau.

2. Insurance Law § 2110(j) requires that any criminal prosecution be reported to the Superintendent of Insurance, including felony, misdemeanor and non-insurance-related prosecutions. However, violations and traffic infractions, including drinking while ability impaired, are not required to be reported, as they are not crimes as defined in New York Penal Law § 10.00 (McKinney Supp. 2007).

Facts:

The question is of a general nature, without reference to particular facts.

Analysis:

Insurance Law § 2110(j) is relevant to the inquiry. It requires that “[w]ithin thirty days of the initial pretrial hearing date, a licensee subject to this article shall report to the superintendent any criminal prosecution of the licensee taken in any jurisdiction. The report shall include a copy of the initial complaint filed, the order resulting from the hearing and any other relevant legal documents.” The provision applies to any Article 21 licensee, and includes insurance agents, brokers, adjusters, consultants and intermediaries. The reporting requirement is broader than that posed in the inquiry, as it requires that a licensee report a criminal prosecution, not just a conviction.

In practice, a licensee should submit the report to the Licensing Bureau of the Insurance Department. The address of the Bureau is: N.Y.S. Department of Insurance, Licensing Bureau, 1 Commerce Plaza, Albany, N.Y. 12257.

In response to the second query, which asks whether all criminal prosecutions including non-insurance related ones must be reported to the Department, Insurance Law § 2110(j) states that “any criminal prosecution” must be reported. Penal Law § 10.00(6) defines a crime as either a misdemeanor or felony. Violations and traffic infractions are not “crimes” as defined in Penal Law § 10.00, and therefore do not have to be reported. But, since driving while intoxicated or while ability impaired by drugs are misdemeanors pursuant to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law (“VTL”) § 1193(b) (McKinney Supp. 2007), they are required to be reported. Driving while ability impaired, however, is only a violation pursuant to VTL § 1193(a), and need not be reported. Further, there is no basis for the exclusion of non-insurance related prosecutions from the reporting requirement.

For further information you may contact Associate Counsel Alexander Tisch at the New York City office.