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Summary of text for Regulation 160

This regulation implements the provisions of Chapter 259 of the Laws of 1998, entitled the Holocaust Victims Insurance Act of 1998, which added a new Article 27 to the Insurance Law to provide a framework for the expeditious and equitable resolution of insurance claims by Holocaust victims (as defined in Section 2701(a) of the Insurance Law). The regulation is made up of eight sections, as follows.

Section 220.1 - Purpose.

The preamble to the regulation describes the background to the enactment of Chapter 259, and notes the following:

That the regulation provides a system for resolution of claims, the details of which are set forth in the regulation; that an international commission has been established to facilitate the resolution of Holocaust victim insurance claims, and that Chapter 259 encourages participation in the commission; that Article 27 applies to insurers who are organized, registered, accredited, or licensed to do business in New York who are made responsible for providing reports to the superintendent in relation to all members of their holding company systems, whether organized, registered, accredited or licensed to do an insurance business in New York or not (hereinafter referred to as "affected insurers"); and that the reports which are required are an initial plan of compliance and thereafter a series of annual reports on the progress of the claims resolution process.

Section 220.2 - Standards for diligent and expeditious investigation of claims.

Subdivision (a) provides that affected insurers shall diligently and expeditiously investigate any claim arising from an occurrence during the period between January 1, 1929 and December 31, 1945, made by a Holocaust victim. Subdivision (b) sets out a series of standards to be applied by affected insurers in claims handling. This includes: giving due consideration to any facts which tend to establish the bona fides of the claim; establishing a Holocaust claims review unit; designating a contact person to handle Holocaust-related inquiries; compiling information of certain specified categories; identifying assets or funds paid to, expropriated or seized by governments; and applying specified expeditious claims handling procedures.

Section 220.2(b) is deemed to have been complied with if an insurer is participating satisfactorily in the international commission and the criteria in Section 220.7 are being met by the insurer and commission, and the superintendent has found that the insurer is fully complying with the commission’s requirements.

Section 220.3 - Standards for alternative documentation: making and assessment of claims.

This section sets forth standards for the making and assessment of claims, making allowances for special problems which may relate to claims by Holocaust victims. Section 220.3(b) sets out a series of standards to be met by claimants, and Section 220.3(c) sets out a series of standards to be met by insurers. In particular, the section provides for the verification of claims by the use of alternative documentation, which implements Section 2703(a)(2) requiring insurers to allow claimants to provide alternative documentation (see Sections 220.3(b)(2) and (10), and (c)(3) and (4) of the regulation). Subdivision (d) of Section 220.3 provides that this section may be deemed to have been complied with upon a showing that an insurer is participating satisfactorily in the international commission, and the superintendent has found that the insurer is fully complying with the commission’s requirements on documentation, making and assessment of claims.

Section 220.4 - Interest on proceeds.

Implementing Section 2701(d), this section provides that interest shall be payable on claims resolved in accordance with this regulation. Where the policy or annuity states a method for the calculation of interest on proceeds, then that method shall apply. Where the policy or annuity does not state such a method, then in the case of life policies or annuities, where benefits became payable because of death of the insured or annuitant or the maturity of an endowment or similar contract, the section generally adopts the existing method of interest calculation set forth in Section 3214 (see Section 220.4(c)(1)); and in all other cases, and in respect of all other types of policies or annuities, the interest rate shall be a reasonable one agreed between the insurer and claimant, or such standard as may be prescribed by the superintendent (Section 220.4(c)(2)).

Section 220.5 - Reports to the superintendent of insurance.

Article 27 requires that certain reports be made to the superintendent by affected insurers. This section sets out certain standards and procedures to be followed by insurers when submitting such reports under Section 2705, including a requirement that the reports be certified by the chief executive officer (or comparable officer) of each reporting entity and of its holding company. Implementing Section 2709(a), Section 220.5(g) also permits the reporting requirements to be satisfied, in the discretion of the superintendent, by the submission no later than January 30th of each year of a substantially equivalent report which has been submitted in another jurisdiction, along with a schedule or index demonstrating that the requirements have been met by such filing.

Section 220.6 - Relief from filing reports.

Implementing Section 2705(a), this section sets out criteria to be applied by the superintendent when granting relief to insurers from the reporting requirements and the procedure to be followed by insurers when seeking such relief. This section sets forth particular details regarding the submission and requires that the insurer must certify that it and all relevant members of its holding company system have conducted a proper search of their records and have not located any reportable information relating to Holocaust victims. The section also describes the duration of the relief.

Section 220.7 - Suspension of reporting requirements.

Implementing Section 2709, this section sets out criteria to be applied by the superintendent when granting suspension to insurers from the reporting requirements of Section 2705, and the procedure to be followed by insurers when seeking such suspension. In particular, the insurer must establish satisfactory participation in the processes of the international commission. The section also provides a procedure for discontinuance by the superintendent of any suspension granted.

Section 220.8 - Document and record retention.

Reflecting the legislative policy stated in Section 2703(c), this section requires the retention of records and materials by insurers related to Holocaust victim claims, subject to direction by the superintendent. This retention requirement is specifically extended to search records and similar documents created at any time which contain or reflect any information of the type described in Section 2705(b). The section also prohibits the concealment of records and the tampering with or alteration of records by any person in any way which would make them false, misleading or incomplete.

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