The Office of General Counsel issued the following opinion on May 6, 2005, representing the position of the New York State Insurance Department.
May an agent for a life insurer use as a business address the office of a non-licensee in which the agent would store his files and work out of periodically?
Yes, provided that no insurance business will be done on the premises except by the agent personally while there, that holding out such office as the business address is not intended for fraudulent purposes, and that the agent formally notify the Department's Licensing Services Bureau of his new address in writing.
An agent represents a life insurer and works from his home. For business purposes, the agent would like to put someone else's non-insurance office location on his letterhead stationery as his business office of record. The agent would store his files and physically work there on occasion.
There is no prohibition in the Insurance Law that would prevent a licensee from using a non-licensee's office as a business office of record, provided that the intent of using such office is consistent with the agent's obligations to act in a trustworthy, competent manner. It is the agent's responsibility to insure that only the agent may do insurance business there and that no insurance business is transacted in his absence, that he has unimpeded access to his files and that such files are not read by people not associated with him in the insurance field and are not removed, destroyed, damaged, or altered by others. Moreover, the agent must notify the Department's Licensing Services Bureau in Albany of any change of business or residence address within thirty days of the change, pursuant to N.Y. Ins. Law § 2134 (McKinney Supp. 2005) and N.Y. Comp. Codes R. Regs. tit. 11, § 22.3 (2004) (Regulation 6).
For further information you may contact Associate Attorney Jeffrey A. Stonehill at the New York City Office.