Relates to the posting of insurance policies on the internet.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the insurance law, in relation to posting insurance policies on the internet
PURPOSE: To allow state-approved insurance policies to be accessed on the internet instead of being mailed unless specifically requested by the policyholder.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Adds a new section 3455 to the Insurance Law to permit a property/casualty insurance company to elect to post state-approved insurance policies and endorsements on the company's website. Policyholders would be able request a free paper copy of the insurance policy.
JUSTIFICATION: Each year property and casualty insurance companies print and then mail millions of policy contract booklets to their customers Often, these policies can exceed fifty pages in length. Surveys suggest consumers often toss their policies into the recycle bins without ever reading them. While e-commerce laws have helped to eliminate some of the waste, the process still has serious limitations.
This legislation would allow the posting of standard approved insurance policies and endorsements on the insurance company's website, provided that the policy and endorsements must be accessible and remain that way for as long as the policy is in force. Expired policies and endorsements would be required to available for five years, and available upon request. The policies and endorsements must be posted in a manner that enables the policyholder to print and save the policy and endorsements using programs or applications widely available on the internet and free to use. The insurance company is required to provide with each declaration page a description of the exact policy and endorsement forms purchased by the insured; a method for the policyholder to obtain, upon request and without charge, a paper copy of the policy and the internet address where the policy and endorsements are posted.
Personal identifying information would not be posted. This legislation applies to insurance policy and endorsements as approved by the Department of Financial Services
The benefits to the insurance consumer are many: first, for the prospective insurance buyer, he or she can look at the approved policies and better compare the provisions of competitors. Second, this legislation is environment friendly by reducing unnecessary and unwanted mailings. Third, there are no privacy concerns, as policy contracts and endorsements do not contain any personal identifying information. Fourth, electronic policy contracts create additional features that are not possible with paper contracts, for example, companies could augment the policies with FAQs, annotations, chat functionality for answering questions and other content to help consumers better understand their policies Enabling laws have been approved in at least thirteen other states.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S 7250 of 2014
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2016
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1762 2015-2016 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 14, 2015 ___________Introduced by Sen. SEWARD -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Insurance AN ACT to amend the insurance law, in relation to posting insurance policies on the internet THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The insurance law is amended by adding a new section 3455 to read as follows: S 3455. POSTING OF INSURANCE POLICIES ON THE INTERNET. (A) NOTWITH- STANDING SECTION THREE HUNDRED NINE OF THE STATE TECHNOLOGY LAW OR ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THE LAW TO THE CONTRARY, STANDARD PROPERTY AND CASU- ALTY INSURANCE POLICIES AND ENDORSEMENTS THAT DO NOT CONTAIN PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION MAY BE MAILED, DELIVERED, OR POSTED ON THE INSURER'S WEBSITE. (B) IF THE INSURER ELECTS TO POST INSURANCE POLICIES AND ENDORSEMENTS ON ITS WEBSITE IN LIEU OF MAILING OR DELIVERING THEM TO THE INSURED, IT MUST COMPLY WITH ALL OF THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS: (1) THE POLICY AND ENDORSEMENTS MUST BE ACCESSIBLE AND REMAIN THAT WAY FOR AS LONG AS THE POLICY IS IN FORCE; (2) AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE POLICY, THE INSURER MUST ARCHIVE ITS EXPIRED POLICIES AND ENDORSEMENTS FOR A PERIOD OF FIVE YEARS, AND MAKE THEM AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST; (3) THE POLICIES AND ENDORSEMENTS MUST BE POSTED IN A MANNER THAT ENABLES THE INSURED TO PRINT AND SAVE THE POLICY AND ENDORSEMENTS USING PROGRAMS OR APPLICATIONS THAT ARE WIDELY AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET AND FREE TO USE; AND (4) THE INSURER PROVIDES THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IN, OR SIMULTANEOUS WITH, EACH DECLARATIONS PAGE PROVIDED AT THE TIME OF ISSUANCE OF THE INITIAL POLICY AND ANY RENEWALS OF THAT POLICY: (A) A DESCRIPTION OF THE EXACT POLICY AND ENDORSEMENT FORMS PURCHASED BY THE INSURED;EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD04511-01-5 S. 1762 2
(B) A METHOD BY WHICH THE INSURED MAY OBTAIN, UPON REQUEST AND WITHOUT CHARGE, A PAPER COPY OF THEIR POLICY; (C) THE INTERNET ADDRESS WHERE THEIR POLICY AND ENDORSEMENTS ARE POST- ED; AND (D) THE INSURER PROVIDES NOTICE, IN THE FORMAT PREFERRED BY THE INSURED, OF ANY CHANGES TO THE FORMS OR ENDORSEMENTS, THE INSURED'S RIGHT TO OBTAIN, UPON REQUEST AND WITHOUT CHARGE, A PAPER COPY OF SUCH FORMS OR ENDORSEMENTS, AND THE INTERNET ADDRESS WHERE SUCH FORMS OR ENDORSEMENTS ARE POSTED. S 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2016.