N.J.S.A 17:51-1. Acts which constitute commissioner as attorney for service of process, service

17:51-1. Acts which constitute commissioner as attorney for service of process, service

1. (a) Any of the following acts in this State, by an insurer not authorized to transact business in this State: (1) the issuance or delivery of contracts of insurance to residents of this State or to corporations authorized to do business therein, (2) the solicitation of applications for such contracts, (3) the collection of premiums, membership fees, assessments or other considerations for such contracts, or (4) any other transaction of business in relation to such contracts of insurance, is equivalent to and shall constitute an appointment by such insurer of the Commissioner of Insurance and his successor or successors in office, to be its true and lawful attorney, upon whom may be served all lawful process and a complaint in any action or proceeding instituted by or on behalf of an insured or beneficiary arising out of any such contracts of insurance, and any such act shall be signification of its agreement that such service of process and a complaint is of the same legal force and validity as personal service of the same in this State upon such insurer.

(b) Such service of process and a complaint upon the commissioner shall be made by leaving two copies thereof, with the fee prescribed by law, in the hands of the commissioner or someone designated by him in his office, or the clerk of the court may serve the commissioner by mailing such papers to him by registered mail, with the said fee. The commissioner shall forthwith mail by registered mail one of the copies of such process and complaint to the defendant at its last-known principal place of business, and shall keep a record of all papers so served upon him. The commissioner, upon giving notice to the defendant of the service of process as required by this act, shall file with the clerk of the court his certificate of the notice given. Such service of process and a complaint is sufficient, provided notice of such service and a copy of the papers are sent within ten days thereafter by registered mail by plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney to the defendant at its last-known principal place of business, and the defendant’s receipt, or receipt issued by the post office with which the letter is registered, showing the name of the sender of the letter and the name and address of the person to whom the letter is addressed, and the affidavit of the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney showing a compliance herewith are filed with the clerk of the court in which such action is pending on or before the date the defendant is required to appear, or within such further time as the court may allow.

(c) Service of process and a complaint in any such action or proceeding shall in addition to the manner provided in subsection (b) of this section be valid if served upon any person within this State who, in this State on behalf of such insurer, is

(1) soliciting insurance, or

(2) making, issuing or delivering any contract of insurance, or

(3) collecting or receiving any premium, membership fee, assessment or other consideration for insurance; and a copy of such process and complaint is sent within ten days thereafter by registered mail by the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney to the defendant at the last-known principal place of business of the defendant, and the defendant’s receipt, or the receipt issued by the post office with which the letter is registered, showing the name of the sender of the letter and the name and address of the person to whom the letter is addressed, and the affidavit of the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney showing a compliance herewith are filed with the clerk of the court in which such action is pending on or before the date the defendant is required to appear, or within such further time as the court may allow.

(d) No plaintiff shall be entitled to a judgment by default under this section until the expiration of thirty days from date of the filing of the affidavit of compliance.

(e) Nothing in this section contained shall limit or abridge the right to serve any process, complaint, notice or demand upon any insurer in any other manner now or hereafter permitted by law.

L.1952,C. 330,S.1; amended 1953,C. 17,S.190; repealed in part(see N.J.S.17B:36-3c); 1991,C. 91,S.231.

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