New York Requires Fingerprints for Some But Not Insurance Agents

December 7, 2009

New York State will begin requiring electronic fingerprints of people seeking certain professional insurance licenses– but not agents and brokers.

The electronic fingerprinting will be part of background checks beginning Dec. 15 for applicants seeking to be insurance company officers and directors; public and independent insurance adjusters; professional bail bondsmen and viatical settlement brokers.

Insurance agents and brokers are not currently required to submit fingerprints for background checks as part of their license applications. However, the Insurance Department has recommended legislative action which would require agent and broker fingerprinting.

The paper fingerprint cards that have been used in the licensing process will no longer be accepted on or after Dec. 15 from New York State residents. Applicants residing outside the state may continue to submit paper fingerprint cards with their license applications.

“Electronic fingerprinting will streamline the processing of background checks and enhance the insurance department’s ability to issue licenses more quickly,” Insurance Superintendent James Wrynn said.

Wrynn said electronic fingerprinting is now available at nearly 100 locations across the state. The state selected L-1 Identity Solutions to make electronic fingerprinting available. Applicants may make appointments by using the company’s website, www.L1ID.com, or by calling 1-877-472-6915.

New York’s transition to electronic fingerprinting is based on the national licensing uniformity standard adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). A number of other states already require fingerprinting.

Electronic fingerprinting will be necessary for life settlement brokers and providers when they become subject to licensing requirements under the provisions of a new law approved last month. They will be required to have licenses starting May 18, 2010. Electronic fingerprinting will also be necessary for life settlement intermediaries who must register with the department starting on that same date.

Additional information on licensing requirements may be obtained on the insurance department’s website.

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