In May 2021, a bill was introduced to the New York Legislature to amend the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) in relation to insurance disclosure for defendants in civil lawsuits. The bill, in short, would require defendants to provide plaintiffs with complete information for any insurance agreement through which a judgment could be satisfied within sixty days after serving an answer.
The bill passed through the Assembly and Senate without public input or comment, was delivered to Gov. Hochul on December 20, 2021, and was signed into law on December 31, 2021.
The new law amends CPLR §3101 and adds CPLR §3122-b, as follows:
- The act takes effect immediately and applies to all pending actions.
- Any insurance disclosure required, which was not previously provided in pending cases, is to be provided within 60 days after the effective date (March 1, 2022).
- Within 60 days of service of an answer, defense litigants will be required to disclose:
- Copies of all applicable policies, declaration pages/sheets, endorsements and exclusions of all primary and excess insurance policies; and
- The available coverage limits of all primary and excess insurance policies; and
- Disclosure of any other lawsuits that have reduced, eroded, or may erode limits of the available coverage, including the caption, the date filed, and the attorneys for all represented parties, and the amount of any attorneys’ fees paid that have eroded the policy limits and the name and address of the attorney who received them.; and
- The contact information for the insurance claims representative.
- Additionally, an application for insurance shall be treated as part of an insurance agreement and shall be disclosed under the new law.
- The new CPLR 3122-b, requires that the insurance disclosure be accompanied by a certification by both the litigant and the attorney, sworn in the form of an affidavit or affirmation, stating that the information is accurate and complete, and that reasonable efforts have been undertaken to ensure that the information remains accurate and complete.
The obligation to provide the insurance information is continuous and any updated information must be disclosed within thirty days of receiving information rendering the prior disclosure inaccurate or incomplete.
Last, the insurance disclosure obligation exists not only during the entire pendency of the litigation but extends 60 days after settlement or entry of judgment and inclusive of appeals.