ogc op. No. 08-09-05
The Office of the Attorney General issued the following opinion on September 19, 2008, representing the position of the New York State Department of Insurance.
re: record retention requirements for insurance policies
what is the required record retention period for insurance policies and how does it apply to both original and renewal policies?
Regulation 152 applies to insurance policies as well as other documents that make up the “policy record” pursuant to 11 nycrr § 243.2(b)(1). pursuant to 11 nycrr § 243.2(b), an insurer must maintain a policy record for each insurance contract or policy for six years from the date the policy is no longer in force, or until after filing of an examination report, whichever is longer. A policy record includes the policy or contract forms, the application, the term of the policy, and the basis for qualification and return premium amounts, if applicable. both the original issued policy and any subsequent renewal of the policy must be retained in the policy register for the retention period specified in regulation 152.
2. Yes. 11 nycrr §243.3 prescribes the standards for the maintenance and reproduction of policy records.
Applicant’s company, ABC Services (“ABC”), is attempting to determine the applicable record retention period for Business Lines Insurance policies, particularly with respect to original and renewal policies. the applicant asks if the policy record retention period starts from the date of the original policy or the date of the last policy renewal. The researcher also asks, hypothetically, if a policy was issued in 1991 and renewed each year thereafter, whether the retention period begins with the original 1991 policy or with the last renewal policy.
As a preliminary matter, 11 nycrr § 243.3, which establishes the standards for the maintenance and reproduction of records that must be maintained in accordance with regulation 152, applies to insurance policies that are part of a policy record.
11 nycrr § 243.2 is relevant to the query. that provision governs the minimum retention period for records created by domestic and foreign licensed insurers, as defined in section 243.1(a) of regulation 152. 11 nycrr 243.2 reads as pertinent as follows:
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pursuant to section 243.2(b)(1)(iii), after the termination of the policy, the insurer must retain, as part of the policy record, the policy form, declaration pages , endorsements, riders, and termination notices. thus, the insurer must keep the original policy, as well as each subsequent renewal policy, for the retention period of six years or until an examination report has been filed, whichever is greater. the retention period applies separately to both the original policy and each renewal.
thus, in the hypothetical situation presented, where the original policy was issued in 1991 (prior to the effective date of regulation 152 in 1996)1 and then renewed through 1997, any information on record of the 1991 policy, which pertains to the 1997 renewal policy (and any subsequent renewal), must be retained in accordance with regulation 152 as part of the policy record for that renewal.
For more information, you may contact Senior Attorney Camielle A. Campbell at the New York City office.
1 Prior to the enactment of Regulation 152, the Department of Insurance’s Office of General Counsel (“OGC”) issued several opinions regarding “informal” record retention guidelines that are substantially similar to those prescribed in Regulation 152. See OGC Opinion dated May 3, 1995.