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Press Release

March 28, 2017

Contact: Richard Loconte, 212-709-1691


Plans Aimed at Ensuring Companies Are Proactively Prepared to Address Consumer Needs before a Disaster Strikes

Insurers Also Directed to Submit Disaster Response Plan and Business Continuity Questionnaires to DFS

Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo today announced that all insurance companies licensed to conduct business in New York State must submit updated disaster response and recovery plans and responses to online questionnaires to the Department of Financial Services (DFS) by June 16, 2017.  Property/casualty companies are also being directed to file responses to the Pre-Disaster Data Survey by April 28, 2017.  When a disaster occurs in New York, DFS provides the Governor and the New York State Office of Emergency Management with critical information regarding the amount and extent of losses, damages, personal injuries, and deaths resulting from the disaster.  Based on this information, the Governor determines whether and when to request a federal disaster declaration and how to prioritize the deployment of state assets.

“It is important for all insurers, whatever the scale of their business, to understand that their ability to recover from a disaster ultimately impacts the needs of New York consumers,” said Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo.  “Disaster response and business continuity plans should reflect the nature, scale and complexity of each insurer’s business and these plans need to be updated at least annually.”

DFS issued two circular letters advising the insurers of their disaster related obligations under New York’s Insurance Law. The first circular letter was directed to property/casualty insurers, including such lines of business as mortgage guaranty insurance, title insurance and captive insurance. The second circular letter was directed to life insurers, as well as such entities as health insurers, fraternal benefit societies and employee welfare funds.

In addition to filing a disaster response and recovery plan, an insurer must have a business continuity plan.  The circular letters outline what an insurer’s business continuity plan should, at a minimum, include, such as:

  • Defining the roles and responsibilities of employees designated to perform disaster-related functions;
  • Identifying lines of management authority;
  • Distributing and maintaining copies business continuity and disaster response plans. Copies of plans should be stored at secure off-site locations which allow access if a company’s computer servers are disabled.
  • Reporting results of a business impact analysis;
  • Identifying recovery time objectives for business processes and information technology;
  • Creating detailed procedures, resource requirements, and logistics for relocation to alternate worksites; and
  • Setting forth detailed procedures, resource requirements, and a data restoration plan for the recovery of information technology, such as networks and required connectivity, servers, computers, wireless devices, applications, and data.

Following a disaster, the DFS Superintendent, in accordance with the nature and extent of the disaster, will activate the Department’s Insurance Emergency Operations Center (IEOC). The IEOC is staffed by insurance industry disaster liaisons and Department representatives to coordinate disaster responses.  Where possible, the Superintendent will consult with the insurance industry before activating the IEOC.

Electronic templates for responses to the pre-disaster survey and disaster response plan and business continuity plan questionnaires, and instructions for their completion and submission, are available at this location on the DFS website,


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