New York, N.Y. (January 5, 2022) - New York State recently enacted the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act, amending the C.P.L.R. As we discussed in our recent alert, these amendments will be unduly onerous on both carriers and insureds. Governor Kathy Hochul would appear to agree and "redlined" the bill with numerous proposed changes before signing it. The Governor's proposed amendments are outlined below.
Carriers and defense counsel should take note that the new law as written is effective as of December 31, 2021, with disclosures due in pending cases by March 1, 2022 (60 days from the date of enactment). This means these new disclosures apply immediately to all new cases.
Time to Disclose
- Mandated disclosure within 90 days of serving the answer (instead of 60 days).
Content of Disclosure
- The proof of insurance agreement can be a copy of the policy,
or if a party agrees in writing, in the form of a declaration
- A party who agrees to accept a declaration page instead of a complete copy of the policy is still entitled to other information required by C.P.L.R. § 3101(f) and can revoke that agreement at any time and demand a copy of the policy.
- The policies that must be disclosed only relate to the claim being litigated.
- Only the name and e-mail address of the claims adjuster must be disclosed (not telephone number).
- Subparagraphs (v) and (vi) would be deleted and subparagraph (iv) would be amended to require disclosure only of "the total limits available" under the policy, meaning the funds, after accounting for erosion and any other offsets available to satisfy a judgment.
- Policy applications would NOT be required to be disclosed.
Obligation to Disclose
- "Ongoing obligation" would be deleted and replaced by "must"— i.e. carriers must make reasonable efforts to provide accurate information initially and at note of issue filing, when engaging in court-conducted or supervised settlement negotiations, at mediation, and when the case is called for trial.
- Disclosure of policy limits shall not constitute an admission that the alleged injury or damage is covered by the policy.
- The new disclosure requirements would not apply to actions brought to recover motor vehicle insurance personal injury protection benefits under Insurance Law Article 51 or Insurance Regulation 68.
- The original retroactive application to "all pending cases" would be deleted.
NOTE: The revised law would take effect immediately and would apply to all actions commenced on or after the effective date of the law. The New York State legislature is meeting today, January 5, and could approve these changes in the next few weeks.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.