New York Now Requests Defendants to Provide Automatic and Early Disclosure of Insurance Information | White and Williams LLP

Defendants in New York are now required to automatically disclose extended insurance information at the start of a trial. Beyond the simple proof of an insurance policy, the new version of the discovery rule CPLR 3101 (f) now requires information such as the contact details of an insurer’s claims adjuster and information indicating whether attorney fees have eroded the boundaries of the policy. In addition, now a defendant and his lawyer must certify by affidavit or affirmation that the insurance disclosure is accurate.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul enacted the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act on December 31, 2021. The law amends CPLR 3101 (f), which previously provided that, as part of the discovery, defendants could be asked to disclose the existence and content of political insurance which may be called upon to satisfy a judgment, but did not require affirmative or unsolicited disclosure, nor much of the information now required. The newly amended CPLR 3101 (f) requires the disclosure of “information and documents” by a defendant to a plaintiff, such as:

  • all primary, supplementary and umbrella insurance policies or contracts (including insurance application);
  • the contact details of a claims adjuster or a third-party administrator;
  • the amounts available under the insurance policy;
  • any legal action which has reduced or may reduce or erode the amounts available under the insurance policy, including contact details of attorneys for all parties represented in such other legal actions; and
  • the amount of the payment of attorneys’ fees that reduced the face value of the policy (as well as the contact details of any attorneys who received such payments).

The required assurance disclosure must be sworn in a certification by the defendant and defense counsel under a newly enacted provision, CPLR 3122-b. Additionally, CPLR 3101 (f) states that insurance information is to be updated through an ongoing obligation that exists “for the duration of the dispute and for sixty days after any settlement or entry. a final judgment in the case, including all appeals ”.

The bill’s sponsor memo says these changes are intended to clarify what and when to disclose insurance coverage, and to reduce delays in cases by explicitly requiring disclosure of this information. While he notes that these problems often arise in bodily injury cases, the wording of the new CPLR 3101 (f) does not limit these disclosure requirements to bodily injury cases.

The law came into force on December 31, 2021 and further requires that any required disclosure not previously provided in pending cases must be provided within 60 days of the effective date, which is March 1, 2022. This change to CPLR 3101 (f) marks a significant change in the disclosure requirements imposed on defendants. Defendants will need to contact their insurers as well as their lawyer to comply with the new changes.

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