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Insurance Circular Letter No. 19 (2017)

November 15, 2017

TO:

All Authorized Life Insurance Companies and Licensed Fraternal Benefit Societies (collectively, “Insurers”)

RE: National Association of Insurance Commissioners Life Insurance and Annuity Policy Locator Service

STATUTORY AND REGULATORY REFERENCES: Insurance Law § 32401 and 11 NYCRR 226 (Insurance Regulation 200)

I.Purpose

The purpose of this circular letter is to notify all authorized life insurance companies and licensed fraternal benefit societies (collectively “insurers”) that the New York State Department of Financial Services (the “Department”) is designating the National Association of Insurance Commissioner (“NAIC”) Life Insurance and Annuity Policy Locator Service as a Lost Policy Finder pursuant to Insurance Law § 3240.  Insurers must treat requests submitted originally through the NAIC Life Insurance and Annuity Policy Locator Service and received by insurers from the Department as subject to the requirements of Insurance Law § 3240.

II.Discussion

Insurance Law § 3240 required the Superintendent of Financial Services (“Superintendent”) to establish a service to assist consumers with locating unclaimed life insurance benefits under life insurance policies and certificates or annuity contracts and certificates.  The Superintendent promulgated 11 NYCRR 226 (Insurance Regulation 200) to implement the law and established such a service, called the Lost Policy Finder.  Section 226.5 of the regulation establishes application procedures for the Lost Policy Finder.  Every authorized life insurance company and fraternal benefit society licensed to write life insurance or annuities in New York must comply with Insurance Law § 3240 and Insurance Regulation 200.

New York’s Lost Policy Finder is applicable to all policies:  (1) issued by a domestic insurer and any account established under or as a result of such policy; or (2) delivered or issued for delivery in New York by an authorized foreign insurer and any account established under or as a result of such policy.  Insurance Law § 3240(b)(1).  The Department’s Lost Policy Finder can be found at: http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/lost_policy_find.htm.

In August 2016, the NAIC launched a Life Insurance and Annuity Policy Locator Service (“NAIC Locator”) that seeks to make it easier for consumers to locate lost benefits regardless of the state in which they currently reside or in which the policy was purchased.  Participation in the NAIC’s service is voluntary.  The NAIC Locator can be found at: https://eapps.naic.org/life-policy-locator/#/welcome.

Under Insurance Law § 3240(a)(5) and Section 226.1(e), a “lost policy finder” is “a service made available by the department on its website or otherwise developed by the superintendent either on his or her own or in conjunction with other state regulators to assist consumers with locating unclaimed life insurance benefits.”  By this circular letter, insurers are notified that the Department designates the NAIC Locator as a lost policy finder.

To facilitate compliance with the requirements of the lost policy finder, the Department is coordinating with the NAIC to ensure that all requests submitted to the NAIC Locator will be transferred to the Department’s Lost Policy Finder at the end of each day.  There will be a one day lag for the requests to be transferred between the two applications.  Insurers will be able to see the requests from both applications by logging onto the Department’s Lost Policy Finder portal application.  Requests received through the NAIC Locator will be distinguished from those received through the Department.  Insurers are required to perform searches on all these requests, and report to the Department the results of these searches received from both the Department and the NAIC through the Department’s Lost Policy Finder pursuant to the requirements of § 3240(h).

Please direct all questions regarding this circular letter to Mark McLeod, Deputy Chief, Life Bureau, at (212) 480-4937 or by email at Mark.McLeod@dfs.ny.gov.

Sincerely,

_____________________________
James V. Regalbuto
Deputy Superintendent for Life Insurance

 

1 There are two section 3240 in the Insurance Law.  This circular letter refers to the section added by Chapter 495 of the Laws of 2012.

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