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Directs Life Insurers to Provide Comprehensive Reports as Investigation of Race-based Underwriting Practices Continues

Superintendent Neil D. Levin today ordered all life insurers that write in New York State to provide a comprehensive report documenting their involvement, if any, in raced-based underwriting and related practices. Earlier this month, the Department instructed insurers to begin their internal reviews.

"The Department’s directive furthers our commitment to investigating allegations that insurers writing in New York State engaged in the inexcusable practice of race-based underwriting," said Levin. "After receiving these reports, the Department will step-up its investigation through the examination of insurers identified as having violated the law."

The Department’s directive, pursuant to Insurance Law 5308 and set forth in Supplement No. 1 to Circular Letter 19 (2000), requires insurers’ review must include, but is not limited to, all relevant documents including, rate charts, mortality tables, agreements with agents and brokers, compensation schedules, underwriting and agency manuals, applications, policy form filings board of directors (and committee) minutes, and internal memoranda. The reports must include the following:

  • Scope of the insurer’s review and document availability;

  • Each type of race-based underwriting practice in which the insurer engaged or engages, including a description;

  • Marketing and sales practices employed, including, but not limited to, distribution system used, compensation rates paid;

  • Policy forms, rate books, dividend scales and pricing mortality tables used;

  • Years in which practices were engaged;

  • Type, face amount, cash value and number of affected policies issued, and if affected policies are still in force; and

  • Actions taken (or intended to be taken) to remedy any unequal treatment resulting from race-based underwriting practices.

Insurers are required to file their report with the Department no later than August 15, 2000.

Department of Financial Services


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