An amended version of the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act recently went into effect in New York State. This law applies to all civil lawsuits filed in New York State Court on or after December 31, 2021. The first disclosures required by the law will be due soon and it is important for defendants to be aware of their new obligations.
As detailed in two Hunton client alerts, published on February 1 and March 14, the law requires defendants to disclose certain information about insurance coverage that might be available to satisfy a judgment. This disclosure obligation also applies to counter-claim and cross-claim defendants.
Within 90 days of filing an answer, defendants must disclose the following:
- a copy of any potentially applicable insurance policies or (with consent of the plaintiff) copies of declaration pages;
- the name and contact information of the person responsible for adjusting the claim; and
- the amount of potentially available coverage after the erosion of policy limits from other claims.
The defendant is also required to disclose any changes to this information at certain key points during the litigation, including at the start of mediation and before trial. The law also states that disclosure of insurance information does not constitute an admission that coverage is available, so defendants must disclose any potentially applicable policies even before their insurer has issued a coverage position.
When the law was first passed in December 2021, it drew immediate criticism over the perceived burden of the disclosures and the fact that it applied retroactively to already-pending lawsuits. Before the first disclosures were even due, the state legislature passed an amendment removing the retroactivity provision and eliminating some of the disclosure obligations. The law as it now stands is in line with similar laws in other jurisdictions.