Guidelines for Rate, Form, Territory, Classification and Rule Filings Submitted via SERFF
Filings that do not conform with general instructions or filings rules will be rejected.
Review Standards Checklists, Compliance Questionnaires, Forms and Optional "Speed to Market" Checklists forms, linked below or through the SERFF system, have been revised as of September 2018.
The Department accepts electronic filings only through the NAIC System for Electronic Rate and Form Filing (SERFF). Please refer to the SERFF website, www.serff.com, for additional information such as information on licensing, remote hosting and cost/benefit analysis of submitting filings through SERFF.
This following general instructions must be followed in submitting SERFF filings. They also include components that must be attached to your filings and some that need not be included.
The company should review the information in the New York SERFF General Instructions, State Filing requirements and any other relevant requirements when submitting a filing through SERFF.
In addition, the Industry Manual for SERFF v5, available at http://www.serff.com should be consulted before submitting a filing.
Complete all fields when using the filing wizard. We need the information in the Filing Wizard and on the General Information tab. This requirement is in lieu of a separate transmittal document and/or a cover letter. Also, complete all the fields related to new and revised forms, rates and rules on the appropriate schedule in SERFF. If the data and attachments are not included in the appropriate schedule your filing will be rejected.
New York has implemented the Uniform Property & Casualty Product Coding Matrix. A copy of the current version can be downloaded in PDF format by going to the SERFF State Participation page; from there, select the “Property and Casualty” link underneath the “Product Coding Matrices.”
Filings received by the Department after close of business (5 p.m. EST) will be considered received the next business day.
Completing Submission Requirements
Acceptable Submission Formats
All attachments must be provided in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format. Adobe Acrobat submissions of poor quality will be rejected. In order to avoid this potential problem and make use of the full range of Adobe Acrobat publishing tools, files should be converted to PDF format through the use of the Acrobat Distiller in lieu of merely scanning such documents. No information will be modified. If Microsoft Excel attachments are required to support the filing or requested during the review of the filing, exact copies in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format must also accompany the submission. If the company finds it necessary to submit any Microsoft Word attachments, they must also be accompanied by exact copies in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.
The Department uses the SERFF PDF Pipeline to assist in the review process. The PDF Pipeline will not convert individual attachments larger than 3 megabytes (MB). The easiest way to determine whether your individual attachments are larger than 3 MB is to use the PDF Pipeline before you submit the filing. Once your filing is complete and ready to submit to the state, click on “PDF Pipeline” and look at the Legend Icon. If you see the red “x” icon, at least one of the attachments associated with that Schedule Item is over 3 MB or is not a PDF document and, therefore, cannot be converted in the PDF Pipeline. From that point, you return to the attachment and reduce the file size or separate it into multiple attachments, then submit your filing to the state.
A cover letter is no longer required. All information previously provided in the cover letter should be included in the Filing Description field under the General Information tab in SERFF. It should clearly explain the intent of the filing, and highlight any substantive changes (such as changes in ratemaking methodology or major coverages provided). If the filing is currently in use in another state, this should also be indicated in the Filing Description. If more details are required, you may attach a supplementary explanatory memorandum on the supporting documentation tab.
If the filing is based on a previous filing that was not approved in New York, the Filing Description should include reference to the previous Department file number or SERFF tracking number. If the filing is currently in use in another state, this should be indicated in the Filing Description.
If compliance with applicable Submission Requirements has been evidenced in a SERFF filing previously approved by the Department and no changes to such portion of the filing and requirement categories are included in the current filing, such Submission Requirement may be by-passed by referencing the Department's "R" file number or SERFF tracking number with the explanation “previously submitted and approved”.
Adoption of RSO or Other Filings
If new form(s), territories, classification(s), or rule(s) are being filed and there are similar ones currently approved for use by a Rate Service Organization (RSO), the reference organization, reference title, and reference number fields must be completed on the General Information tab and the Filing Description should include the Department's "R" file number or SERFF tracking number and effective date of the approval. If the filing is currently in use in another state, this should be indicated in the Filing Description.
If the company wants to use an RSO’s loss costs or rating plans, you must complete the rate filing sequence checklist. For rating plans, a copy of the rating plan must also be submitted and attached to the Rate/Rule Schedule. For adoption of loss costs, the rate/rule page(s) containing the proposed Loss Costs Multiplier(s) must be attached to the Rate/Rule Schedule.
If new form(s), territories, classification(s), or rule(s) are being filed and there are similar ones currently approved for use by another insurer, the Filing Description field on the General Information tab should include reference to the Department's file number or SERFF tracking number and effective date of the approval, or copies of the approved items should be included. If the filing is currently in use in another state, this should also be indicated in the Filing Description.
Requests for Confidentiality / Proprietary Material
- The Department does not permit the company to designate the whole filing as confidential except as permitted by the Insurance Law, for example, credit scoring models.
- SERFF allows the company to designate parts of the filing confidential (Please review Industry SERFF Manual for instructions on marking the filing). If you are requesting confidentiality under the Freedom of Information Law for a part of your filing, you must identify the specific document(s): form name and number, rating supporting documentation, etc., for which confidentiality is being requested, in the Filing Description field on the General Information tab. The Filing Description field must also include the reasons why the information should be exempted from disclosure. The reasons provided must meet the standards contained in Section 87(2) of the N.Y. Public Officers Law. This law exempts from disclosure records that contain trade secrets or would cause competitive injury, if disclosed. The company must explain why the document(s) are trade secrets or if released, would cause competitive injury. The Department may reject your request for confidentiality if the reasons are not specified or are inadequate.
- If you are requesting confidentiality for documents and/or amendments sent after the original submission of the filing, you must identify the exact document(s): form name and number, rating supporting documentation, etc., for which confidentiality is being requested in a Note to the Reviewer including the reasons why the information should be excepted from disclosure.
- The request for confidentiality must be clearly stated and designated as described above and must be made by the entity submitting the filing. A request for confidentiality made by a third party other than the submitting party is not deemed to be a statutory request.
- Note that the process of making a determination regarding whether that portion of the filing meets the standards contained in Section 87(2)(d) of the N.Y. Public Officers Law may be done at anytime.
- Pursuant to Section 2806(b) of the New York Insurance Law, any filing relating to credit information is not subject to disclosure under Article 6 or Article 6A of the Public Officers Law.
The SERFF form schedule must be completed for all form filings.
Each form must be listed individually on the form schedule. All form schedule fields must be completed: form name, form number, edition date, form type and attachments. The form must be included in the “Attachment” column on the relevant lines on the schedule. If a single attachment on the schedule contains more than one form, the filing will be rejected.
A sample of a completed Form Schedule is shown below:
Form Count: 2
|Schedule Item Status||
Action Specific Data
|10-30-2006||Name of Endorsement||12345||12 06||Endorsement/
|10-30-2006||Name of Endorsement||6789||12 06||Endorsement/
|Replaced||Previous Filing #||R20000000||40||67.pdf|
|Replaced Form #||678. 06 05|
The rate data fields on the rate/rule schedule must also be completed for all rate and rating rule filings (This includes adoption of rate service organization loss cost, rating plans, rating rules, symbols, deductibles, classifications, individual risk submissions, territories and other rate/rating rule filing.) with the exception of non-rating rule filings.
The company must select “yes” for the question “Add Rate Data” to display the rate data fields. Below is a screen print of the question.
Complete all fields for each company included in the filing.
- Overall percentage of last rate revision: This is the statewide average of the last percentage change implemented in the state.
- Effective Date of last rate revision: This is the implementation date of the last overall percentage rate impact.
- Filing Method of Last Filing (Prior Approval, File & Use, etc): This is the review method for which the last filing was submitted. See State Specific Requirements.
- Overall % Rate Impact - This is the statewide average percentage change to the current rates for the coverages included for each company.
- Written premium change for this program - This is the statewide change in written premium based on the proposed overall percentage rate impact for each company.
- # of policyholders affected for this program - This is the number of policyholders affected by the overall percentage rate impact for each company.
- Written premium for this program - This is the statewide written premium for each company.
- Maximum % Change & Minimum % Change
- If all the policyholders get increases, then the maximum change is the largest increase and the minimum change is the smallest increase.
- If all the policyholders get decreases, then the maximum change is the smallest decrease and the minimum change is the largest decrease.
- If some of the policyholders get increases and others get decreases, then the maximum change is the largest increase and the minimum change is the largest decrease.
- Overall percentage rate impact for this filing: This is the statewide average percentage change to the accepted rates for the coverages included in the filing. This field only needs to be completed for group filings.
- Effect of Rate Filing—Written Premium Change for this program: This is the statewide change in written premium based on the proposed overall percentage rate impact. This field only needs to be completed for group filings.
- Effect of Rate Filing—Number of policyholders affected: This is the number of policyholders affected by the overall percentage rate impact. This field only needs to be completed for group filings.
If there are multiple companies on a filing, the Overall Rate Information (Premium and Policyholders) will automatically calculate for the user.
For rate, rating rule or adoption of rate service organization filing that results in no rate impact or a zero rate impact for the company and for filings for new programs, the company should select “yes” to for Add Rate Data and indicate “0” for all the rate data fields which require rate change information.
The SERFF rate/rule schedule must be completed for all rate and rule filings (This also includes loss cost, rating plans, symbols, deductibles, classifications, deductibles, individual risk submissions, symbols or territories.).
Each rate/rule page must be listed individually on the Rate/Rule Schedule. The rate pages, and/or rule pages must be included in the “Attachment” column on the relevant lines on the schedule. If a single attachment on the schedule contains more than one rate/rule page the filing will be rejected. However, if the company is submitting an entire rating manual for our review, the rating manual may be included as one attachment in the Rate/Rule Schedule. The rate/rule pages for an adoption of a rate service organization does not have to be listed and attached to the Rate/Rule Schedule except for adoption of rating plans and loss costs. For rating plans, a copy of the rating plan must also be submitted and attached to the Rate/Rule Schedule. For adoption of loss costs, the rate/rule page(s) containing the proposed Loss Costs Multiplier(s) must be attached to the Rate/Rule Schedule.
Credit scoring model filings - The Department recommends that the company submit credit scoring model filings and any revisions as a stand alone file. Credit scoring model filings and any revisions must be included in the Rate/Rule Schedule. Filings to adopt credit scoring models from a third party without any modifications do not have to be listed on the Rate/Rule Schedule. Per the instructions in Section II, the company should mark the entire filing as confidential. Article 28 of the Insurance law, Regulation 182 (11 NYCRR 221) (Limitations Upon and Requirements for the Use of Credit Information for Personal Lines Insurance) and Circular Letter No. 2 (2005) provide additional requirements regarding the submission of credit scoring model filings and any revisions.
All other documentation should be attached under the supporting documentation tab. Such documentation may include side-by-side comparisons, actuarial support, and checklists.
If a new form(s) or endorsement(s) modifies existing policy provision(s) currently in effect, be sure to include an explanatory memorandum with a discussion of the policy provision(s) which will be affected as well as a copy of the current policy provision(s). In addition, a side-by-side comparison of the new form(s) and existing policy provision(s) should be provided. If the filing is a non-rating revision to existing form(s), territories, classification(s) or rule(s):
- Except for simple, non-substantive changes, a side-by-side comparison of the form(s) or rule(s) being proposed and those currently in use in New York, with all changes clearly marked and explained in the Filing Description and/or explanatory memorandum must be included.
- Revisions to classifications and territories must include a comparison between those currently on file (in New York) and those proposed.
Review Standards Checklists
To assist you in preparing filings, the Department has developed review standards checklists and compliance questionnaires which can be found within the filing rules and submission requirements for the relevant types of insurance. Note – the “types of insurance” are based upon annual statement lines of business. The attachment of the appropriate Review Standards Checklist is mandatory for all filings submitted through SERFF pursuant to Supplement No. 5 to Circular Letter No. 11 (1998). These checklists and compliance questionnaires are intended to provide guidance in regard to many of New York's minimum requirements. The review standards checklists list the categories of review standards that a filing will be expected to evidence. The review standards checklists, including Column 4 - “Location of Standard in Filing”, must be fully completed for new programs and major revisions to existing programs to facilitate review of the filing. Documents submitted in filings made through SERFF should provide “bookmarks” to the location(s) within their filing of the provisions that comply with the requirements. If the submission is limited to minor revisions to previously approved programs, endorsements, etc. that do not include changes to regulatory requirements, insert a brief explanation on the first page of the checklist indicating the reason(s) the review standards are not applicable. Please be advised that compliance with the review standards checklists or compliance questionnaires alone does not guarantee approval of any filing. If you have questions regarding completion of the checklists or compliance questionnaires please contact the Department representative shown in Section IV below.
An applicable set of review standards checklists and the related compliance questionnaires should be completed for each coverage part included in the filing. For example, if a filing contains forms for Commercial General Liability coverage (written on an occurrence basis with defense outside limits) and Directors and Officers and Employment Practices Liability coverage parts (written on a claims-made basis with defense within limits), the insurer must complete and submit the following forms, review standards checklists, and compliance questionnaires:
- One Master List of Review Standards Checklists and Compliance Questionnaires
- One Policy Form Compliance Certification
- Two Commercial Liability Review Standards Checklists (one for Commercial General Liability form and one for Employment Practices Liability Coverage Part)
- One Directors and Officers Review Standards Checklist (for the Directors and Officers form)
- Three Commercial Liability Insurance Form Filing Compliance Questionnaires (for the Commercial General Liability form, Directors and Officers form, and Employment Practices Liability Coverage Part )
- Two Claims-Made Policies Form Filing Compliance Questionnaires (one for Directors and Officers Coverage Part and one for Employment Practices Liability Coverage Part)
- Two Defense-Within-Limits Form Filing Compliance Questionnaires (one for Directors and Officers Coverage Part and one for Employment Practices Liability Coverage Part);
- One or more Commercial Lines Cancellation & Non-renewal Form Filing Compliance Questionnaires (one compliance Questionnaire for each form that contains separate cancellation and nonrenewal provisions); and
- One or more Supplementary Form Information (if needed).
Please note that we are constantly revising/updating existing forms, review standard checklists, and compliance questionnaires and adding new forms, review standard checklists, and compliance questionnaires. Please check to make sure you are using the current version in SERFF.
Rate Filing Sequence Checklist
The rate filing sequence checklist must be completed for any filing containing rates, rules, classifications, territories, or rating plans. The Fourth Supplement to Circular Letter No. 11 (1998) amends the procedures for the filing of policy rules and rates by prescribing required exhibits. Insurers will continue to be responsible for developing their own exhibits, with the exception of the following preformatted exhibits: STM-1 (Master List of Compliance Checklists), and STM-2 (Rate and/or Rating Plan Compliance Certification). These exhibits must be labeled according to the sequence numbering system of this checklist. Use of this checklist is mandatory for all filings of rates, rating rules, classifications, territories and rating plans. If you have questions or comments regarding the completion of the checklist, please contact Mr. Anthony Yoder, Supervising Actuary, Property Bureau, at the Department’s New York City address, or by telephone at (212) 480-5500 or by email to Mr. Anthony Yoder.
States Specific Fields
The STATES-SPECIFIC FIELDS must be completed for all filings. Please enter the appropriate code within the fields. In the event a field is not applicable, enter 0 into that field. Please refer to the following:
- Speed-To-Market Field: enter code "98" for "Speed-To-Market" filings
- Terrorism Exclusion Field: enter code "46-01" for filings which includes forms, rates or rules for the Terrorism Exclusion
- Mold (Fungi, Bacteria, Virus) Exclusion Field: enter code "46-02" for filings which includes forms, rates or rules for the Mold Exclusion
- Rate/Rule Schedule Tab: the “Add Rate Data” button must be changed to “yes” for all rating rules and rate filings in order for the appropriate fields to be completed. Please enter “Yes” for filings with the rate data fields completed and “No” for all other filings
Free Trade Zone Class 3 Risks
Chapter 490 of the laws of 2011 which took effect on November 15, 2011 amended Insurance Law § 6303 by adding a new (a)(3), which sets forth a new special risk insurance exemption ("class 3") from rate and form filing or approval requirements until June 30, 2013 for certain types of policies issued to large commercial insureds that employ or retain a special risk manager to assist in the negotiation and purchase of the policies. Pursuant to the Third Amendment to Regulation 86 Section 16.4 (c)(1), insurers are required to electronically submit via SERFF all FTZ Class 3 submissions unless they have filed and received approval for a hardship exemption from the electronic filing requirement in which case the paper filing requirements should be followed (This section is subject to expiration and has been extended several times).
Pursuant to Section 6303(a)(3)(B) of the Insurance Law the company is required to file for information only any form that has not been previously filed with the Superintendent within three business days after the first delivery of a policy using such form, but no later than 60 calendar days after the inception date of such policy. It should be noted that any policy form that an insurer previously filed with the Superintendent and that the Superintendent disapproved or rejected or that the insurer withdrew will not be considered to have been previously filed with the Superintendent.
For the SERFF submission, information is to be provided on the General Information tab and the Form Schedule tab.
On the General Information tab, the Filing Description field must include the following language: "The company is submitting for informational purposes the form(s) for policies issued to a FTZ Class 3 risk which has (have) not been previously filed with the Superintendent.
On the Form Schedule, for each form submitted complete the fields for the form name, form number, form type. The form(s) must be included in the “Attachment” column on the relevant lines of the schedule.
To make "SPEED-TO-MARKET" filings, please follow the procedures described in Supplement No. 3 to Circular Letter No. 11 (1998) and the instructions contained in the Master List of Review Standards Checklists and Compliance Questionnaires. SERFF filings, as noted above, must be submitted with the appropriately completed review standards checklists and compliance questionnaires. Additional requirements for a SERFF filing to be considered as being submitted on a Speed to Market basis are: the completion by an officer of the appropriate compliance certification forms (the link is located in the Review Standards Checklists), the completion of the Master List of the Review Standards Checklists and Compliance Questionnaires, the Filing Description on the General Information tab in SERFF must clearly state that the filing is being submitted on a "Speed to Market" basis, and the filer must enter code “98” - “Speed to Market” filings in the State Specific field.
NOTE: The optional "Speed to Market" filing procedures do not apply to rate filings for the following lines of business: (i) Personal Automobile; (ii) Public Automobile; and (iii) Workers Compensation; and (iv) Physicians" & Surgeons" Medical Malpractice Liability.
Documents Requiring Signatures of Authorized Officers
Required Signature of Authorized Officer
A Speed-To-Market Filing requires the signature of an authorized officer of the company on the "Speed-To-Market" certification form(s). The Explanatory Memorandum for a filing does not require an officer's signature.
Submission by an Officer or other Company Representative:
Creation of Electronic Signature
If an officer or another person transmits the "Speed-To-Market" filing via SERFF, the "Speed-To-Market" certification form(s) signed by an officer must be attached as part of the filing. Please note that when submitting a "signed" electronic document, the Department is only able to accept the signature if it is electronically scanned from a wet signature and attached to the form or rate filing which is sent to the Department.
Scanned or Pictured Signatures
If a wet signature has been scanned into a document, the portion of the document containing such signature should be placed into a separate attachment, i.e. separate from those components created using the Adobe Acrobat Distiller.
Responsibilities of the Officer and the Insurers
The Department will hold the officer whose electronic signature is affixed to the "Speed To Market" certifications responsible for the representations made therein, to the same extent that the person would be held responsible were his or her wet signature affixed to a paper certification. In addition, the insurer, on whose behalf the electronic SERFF filing is being made, will be held responsible by the Department for, and be bound by, the electronic signatures of those officers to whom it has given authority to sign the electronic certifications as to the representations contained therein. Insurers are expected, in light of their responsibilities in this regard, to implement internal controls and procedures for the utilization of electronic signatures in this context to protect against unauthorized use and, to maintain a record of those officers who have been given authority to sign these certifications electronically for the insurer.
Errors in Filing Submission
The Department has noted that some companies are not utilizing the SERFF design features as instructed in the SERFF Industry Manual. Some errors that have been noted since SERFF v5 was implemented are:
- The Form Schedule, Rate Data, or Rate/Rule Schedule have not been completed
- For adoption or delayed adoption of RSO filings, the reference organization, reference title, and reference number fields are not completed on the General Information tab. These fields are required to be completed with the applicable RSO information
- Companies have been using Note to Reviewer to attach filing submissions. Filing submissions should never be attached to a Note to Reviewer
- Forms, rates and/or rules are being attached under the Supporting Documentation tab. Forms, rates and/or rules are required to be listed and attached to the applicable Forms and/or Rates/Rules Schedule.
- Companies have been submitting filings that will result in a rate effect without properly completing the Rate Data portion of the Rate/Rule Schedule tab. On the Rate/Rule Schedule Tab, the "Add Rate Data" currently defaults to "No", the company must select "Yes" to display the rate data fields and properly complete them
Other General Instructions, Guidelines, Specifications and Prohibitions
Plan of Operation
Regulation 79 requires insurers to make a submission describing its plan of operation for establishing and adequately maintaining an automobile inspection system. The Department cannot accept submissions of these plans of operation via SERFF. Instructions for Plan of Operation Filing.
Individual Risk Submission
Insurers are required to submit individual risk rate filings for those "a" rated risks that are subject to prior approval. Pursuant to Circular Letter No. 4 (1996) , insurers are not required to submit rate filings for policies covering individually rated commercial umbrella and other "a" rated risks that are not subject to prior approval. In lieu of individual risk rate filings, insurers are required to retain in the individual policy file the supporting information that would otherwise be provided in a properly completed form 129-C (contained in Circular Letter No. 19 (1992)). Such information must be available for inspection by the Department for a period of five years from the date the policy is issued.
The following is a summary of subjects that either must or must not be contained in your filings, and the required treatment of these subjects in New York. While these may not be "filing or submission requirements", the failure to address them in accordance with the instructions below will result in the rejection of your filing.
NOTE: The following is not an exhaustive subject list. There may be other areas of concern that you may need to address upon completion of this Department’s review of the filing.
Examples of Prohibited Coverages
Punitive Damages and Corporal Punishment Coverages are not permitted in NY.
Pursuant to Section 3426 (g)(2) of the New York Insurance Law, loss information must be provided by the insurer, at the insured's request, covering a period of years specified by the Superintendent by regulation or the period of time coverage has been provided by the insurer, whichever is less. Note: Since the Superintendent has not specified a period of time by Regulation, the company must provide the insured with loss information covering the period of time the insured has been with the insurer.
Computer Simulation Models
Pursuant to Circular Letter No. 7 (1998), the inclusion of computer simulation modeling results in the ratemaking process is not permitted.