OGC Opinion No. 07-02-04

The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on February 1, 2007, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.

Re: 2007 Illinois Division of Insurance Reciprocal State Survey

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation inquired whether New York considers itself a "reciprocal state" within the meaning of Illinois Insurance Code § 121-13(a). That provision permits the enforcement in Illinois of a "foreign judgment", a term which itself is as defined in Illinois Insurance Code § 121-13(b). The Illinois Attorney General, pursuant to Illinois Insurance Code § 121-12, may enforce a "foreign judgment" from a "reciprocal state".

Illinois Insurance Code §§ 121-13(a) and 121-13(b) defines the terms "reciprocal state" and "foreign judgment" as follows:

(a) "Reciprocal state" means any State or territory of the United States and the laws of which contain procedures substantially similar to those specified in this Article for the enforcement of judgments or orders issued by courts located in other States or territories of the United States, against an insurer incorporated or authorized to do business in that State or territory.

(b) "Foreign judgment" means any judgment or order relating to fraudulent claims practices, false and deceptive advertising, unfair methods of transacting business, or payment of taxes, of a court located in a "reciprocal state", including a court of the United States located therein, against any insurer incorporated or authorized to do business in this State.

The New York Insurance Law does not contain any statute that authorizes another state to enforce a "foreign judgment". The New York Civil Practice Law and Rules (hereinafter, "CPLR") Article 54 (McKinney 1997), formally entitled the "Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act," a statute that many states, including Illinois have adopted, authorizes a reciprocal state to enforce a foreign judgment under certain circumstances. See S.H.A. 735 ILCS 5/12-650 to 5/12-657. A copy of CPLR Article 54 is provided to the Illinois Division of Insurance to aid its determination as to whether New York qualifies as a "reciprocal state" under Illinois law.

For further information you may contact Senior Attorney Robert Freedman, at the New York City Office.