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New York enacted the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act on December 31, 2021 (the “Act”). When originally signed, Governor Hochul requested that the Senate consider certain amendments to reduce or clarify the burden on litigants. The Act was amended on February 24, 2022, to address a variety of concerns with New York Civil Practice Law & Rules (“CPLR”) § 3101(f) and effectively narrows the burden of insurance disclosure requirements.
As a result of the amendments, defendants must now produce relevant insurance information in newly filed lawsuits (on or after 12/31/21) within 90 days of answering the complaint. The Act no longer applies to all pending cases. The amendments have also narrowed the scope of disclosure. Specifically, disclosure is required of all primary, excess and umbrella polices that may be liable to satisfy part or all of a judgment; a complete copy of all identified policies (or the declarations page by agreement of the parties); the name and email address only of the matter’s adjuster; the applicable policy limits still available, taking into account erosion and other offsets. Disclosure of the policy limits does not constitute an admission that an alleged injury or damage is covered by the policy.
Additionally, the amendments have established certain times when the disclosures must be updated, which helps to define the reasonable effort requirement for ensuring that the information remains accurate and complete (and eliminates the “ongoing” obligation). Thus, updates must be provided at the filing of the note of issue, when entering into any formal settlement negotiations (conducted or supervised by the court), at a voluntary mediation, when the case is called for trial, and for 60 days after any settlement or entry of final judgment. Both the disclosing party and the party’s attorneys must certify that the disclosures are accurate and complete pursuant to CPRL § 3122(b).
The Act’s disclosure requirements do not apply to No Fault or motor vehicle PIP claims. Unlike the initial version of the Act, applications for insurance are no longer treated as part of any insurance agreement.
Insureds who are current or potential defendants – including third-party or crossclaim/counterclaim defendants – in New York should continue to be cognizant of the burden associated with complying with the Act’s requirements. The attorneys of FMG are knowledgeable in this area and attuned to the needs of insureds, and their carriers, and are able to assist.
Should you have any questions, please contact Paul Piantino of our New York City Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. FMG will continue to monitor any developments with the Act, or case law related to the Act.