New York State
Insurance Department


New York, April 1, 1999

LEVIN ANNOUNCES NEW LAW TO IMPROVE
CONSUMER ACCESS TO LEGAL SERVICES COVERAGE

In an effort to make affordable legal services more readily available to New York State consumers, Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today announced that insurance companies can now permanently offer prepaid legal plans and legal services coverage. A prepaid legal services plan provides consumers with access to basic services, such as wills and estate settlements, real estate transactions, prenuptial agreements, annulments, divorces, IRS tax matters and family court proceedings. A consumer can also buy additional coverage for defense costs in non criminal actions.

Insurers can provide a broader range of legal services than access-plans, which are not permitted to provide insurance benefits. In New York State, experimental prepaid legal services plans have been allowed for several years, but many insurers were not willing to provide the coverage because the law had to be renewed every few years.

"Consumers will now be able to save time and money because they will have greater access to affordable, basic legal services," said Levin.

The Department issued two new regulations and amended five others to implement the new law. The regulations apply to property/casualty, life, accident and health insurers, and non-profit, hospital and medical corporations.

Copies of the regulations are available on the Department’s website at www.ins.state.ny.us or by calling 212-480-2283.


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