A January 7, 2008 opinion of the New York State Insurance Department Office of General Counsnel has important implications concerning acceptable business practices of structured settlement professionals and structured settlement general agencies with websites and other advertising.
The two questions presented to the OGC were:
1. May an insurance agent or broker make reference to specific insurers in an advertisement, without also indicating the location of the insurers’ principal offices?
2. May an insurance agent or broker use only the logos of the respective insurers in an advertisement (provided that the agent or broker receives permission to do so), without indicating the full name and principal office location of the insurers?
To both questions, the OGC answered NO
What It Says in The Law
Insurance Law § 2122(b) Every agent of any insurer and every insurance broker shall, in all advertisements, public announcements, signs, pamphlets, circulars and cards, which refer to an insurer, set forth therein the name in full of the insurer referred to and the name of the city, town or village in which it has its principal office in the United States
11 NYCRR § 215.13(a) "The name of the actual insurer and the form number or numbers advertised shall be identified and made clear in all of its advertisements. An advertisement shall not use a trade name, any insurance group designation, name of the parent company of the insurer, name of a particular division of the insurer, service mark, slogan, symbol or other device which without disclosing the name of the actual insurer would have the capacity and tendency to mislead or deceive as to the true identity of the insurer."
Those structured settlement brokers, settlement planners and general agencies with websites, who do business in New York, should review their web sites carefully in light of this new opinion and bring their websites into compliance as soon as possible.
For the complete OGC opinon please click here