Litigants in New York now face new requirements for the production of liability insurance information at the onset of a civil action. The “Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act” (the “Act”) was signed into law by New York Governor Kathy Hochul on December 31, 2021. This legislation alters C.P.L.R. § 3101(f) with new requirements for defendants, third-party defendants, and/or cross-claim defendants regarding their potential insurance information.
Within 90 days after an answer is filed, the Act requires defendants to produce the following information to the plaintiff:
- Any insurance policy in place at the time of the incident that may provide coverage, or alternatively, the declaration page for the policy only if the plaintiff agrees in writing to production of the declaration page in lieu of the full policy;
- Any primary, excess, umbrella, or other policy of insurance that may cover the defendant for the claim;
- The contact information of the assigned adjuster handling the claim on behalf of the defendant’s carrier(s);
- The available limits under any applicable policy to cover the plaintiff’s claim. This must include a consideration of any eroding coverages or offsets.
These requirements are ongoing, and to the extent any information relating to a new adjuster handling the claim or a new carrier providing coverage comes to light, the defendant must supplement its disclosure. Likewise, the Act requires the defendant and its counsel to certify the information it provides is accurate and complete.
This change to New York law now makes it incumbent upon defendants and their counsel to provide insurance information without waiting for discovery requests from plaintiffs. With these changes, plaintiffs will have the benefit of understanding the available funds to cover their claim at the beginning of litigation, which will assist in developing the discovery and litigation strategy moving forward.