OGC Op. No. 10-01-01
The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on January 4, 2010 representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
Re: Prelicensing Course Exemption for Work Experience
Under the facts described below, may the applicant for a property/casualty broker license qualify for a license based upon the applicant’s work experience, in lieu of attending a 90 hour study course?
Yes. Provided the applicant has engaged in the work activities described below for the requisite time and in connection with one of the branches of insurance specified in Insurance Law § 2104(c)(1)(B), the applicant is eligible for a property/casualty broker license based upon the applicant’s work experience, in lieu of attending a 90-hour study course.
The inquirer represents a licensed insurance broker. The inquirer asks, on behalf of the insurance broker, as to whether an employee of the broker with the following job responsibilities and training would have the requisite work experience to qualify for a broker’s license for all lines except life insurance and variable life and variable annuity products, under Insurance Law § 2104(b)(1)(B), in lieu of taking the 90-hour study course: gathering underwriting information from insureds and transmitting the data to insurers; analyzing data, including running reports to establish replacement cost value; looking up rates; explaining how rates are developed; determining if classifications are appropriate for a particular risk based upon the insured’s operations; analyzing losses; identifying flood zones; identifying earthquake zones; identifying wind zones; estimating exposures (payrolls, sales, and automobiles); preparing loss summaries; preparing coverage specifications; completing accord forms, including applications, binders, and certificates of insurance in accordance with direction from management; invoicing policies and endorsements; preparing automobile insurance ID cards, and reading and reviewing insurance policies for accuracy.
Insurance Law § 2104(c)(1), which is germane to the inquiry, sets forth the qualifications to apply for a property/casualty insurance broker license, and reads in pertinent part as follows:
(c)(1) Every individual applicant for such license and every proposed sub-licensee shall be of the age of eighteen years or over at the time of the issuance of such license. No individual shall be deemed qualified to obtain such license or to be named as sub-licensee therein unless he shall comply with the requirements of subparagraph (A), (B) or (C) following:
(A) He shall have successfully completed a course or courses, approved as to method and content by the superintendent . . . not less than ninety hours . . . .
(B) He shall have been regularly employed by an insurance company or an insurance agent or an insurance broker, for a period or periods aggregating not less than one year during the three years next preceding the date of application, in the case of a license under subparagraph (B) of paragraph one of subsection (b) of this section, in responsible insurance duties relating to the underwriting or adjusting of losses in any one or more of the following branches of insurance: fire, marine, liability and workers’ compensation, and fidelity and surety; . . .and he shall submit with his application a statement subscribed and affirmed as true under the penalties of perjury by such employer or employers stating facts which show compliance with this requirement . . . . (Emphasis added.)
Insurance Law § 2104(c)(1) thus identifies the duties that qualify an applicant for a property/casualty insurance broker license based upon work experience as those insurance duties “relating to the underwriting or adjusting of losses.” Here, it is the Department’s view that the job responsibilities described in the facts above are sufficiently related to underwriting to qualify an applicant for an insurance broker’s license who has actually performed such work, in lieu of attending a 90-hour study course. The inquirer is advised, however, that in addition to meeting the eligibility requirements specified in Insurance Law § 2104(c)(1), an applicant for a property/casualty broker license must also take and pass an examination to establish competency, unless the Superintendent grants an exemption pursuant to Insurance Law § 2104(e)(1)(B). Thus, some applicants who may qualify for a work experience exemption may neverthless find it advisable to complete the 90 hour pre-licensing course to prepare for the examination.
For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Brenda M. Gibbs at the Albany Office.