17B:25-18.3. Policies, contract forms; certification memorandums; exceptions

17. a. Pursuant to the provisions of this section, an insurer authorized to do business in this State may file with the commissioner and use, in accordance with subsection d. of this section, any form of life insurance policy, health insurance policy, annuity, variable contract, endorsement or related form that is stipulated by the commissioner to be of a kind or type eligible for file and use pursuant to subsection b. of this section. The form shall be accompanied by a certification memorandum which includes a statement that it is filed in accordance with the provisions of this section, and which is executed by a responsible officer of the insurer who certifies that the form being filed is in conformance with the law and regulation applicable to that type or kind of form as specified in a certification form to be determined by the commissioner, except that any life insurance policy or contract form that is the same as or substantially similar to a life insurance policy or contract form that has been approved for use in at least 42 other states in which the combined population equals or exceeds two-thirds of the total United States population, except that the population of the State of New Jersey shall not be included in the total United States population, as determined by the most current decennial census shall be deemed to comply with the law and regulation applicable to that type or kind of form, except for the conditions provided therefor in subsection b. of this section. If the commissioner determines that the form being filed does not conform with the law or regulation applicable to that type or kind of form, the commissioner shall notify the insurer of his objections in writing and may disapprove that form for further use in New Jersey.

b. Policy and contract forms, including related endorsements, riders and application forms, eligible for certification pursuant to this section shall include, but not be limited to certain categories of individual life, individual annuity, group annuity, group life, group health, individual health and variable contracts which the commissioner shall define by regulation and, notwithstanding any other provision of law or regulation to the contrary, any life insurance policy or contract form that is the same as or substantially similar to a life insurance policy or contract form that has been approved for use in at least 42 other states in which the combined population equals or exceeds two-thirds of the total United States population, except that the population of the State of New Jersey shall not be included in the total United States population, as determined by the most current decennial census unless disapproved by the commissioner within 60 days of filing with the commissioner. Such disapproval shall be in writing and shall set forth the substantive, not arbitrary, reasons for the disapproval.

C. The certification memorandum shall be signed and acknowledged by a responsible officer of the insurer. The acknowledgment by that officer shall be done in the same manner in which documents for recording instruments conveying or affecting interests in real estate in this State must be acknowledged to be eligible for recording, or in such other manner as specified by the commissioner by regulation from time to time.

d. Upon receipt of an acknowledgment from the commissioner that the form and a certification memorandum which conforms to the requirements of this section have been received, the form so submitted may be used by the insurer. The acknowledgment shall be sent by first class mail by the commissioner to the insurer within 60 days of receipt by the commissioner of the form and the certification memorandum which conforms to the requirements of this section.

e. (1) Improper certification shall subject an insurer submitting such improper certification to a fine not to exceed $50,000 and, in addition, a maximum penalty of $1,000 per policy issued on a form determined to be improperly certified pursuant to the provisions of this section. The commissioner shall promulgate a schedule of penalties to be applied pursuant to this section. In determining the amount of any penalty to be imposed, the commissioner shall consider the severity of the violation based upon the potential adverse impact to the public and whether it is the filer’s first violation of this section.

(2) If after notice and a hearing pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, C. 410 (52:14B-1. Short title et seq.), an insurer is found by the commissioner to be in violation of this section, the form may be disapproved, and in addition to any other penalties that may be imposed under Title 17B of the New Jersey Statutes, the commissioner may bar that insurer from participating in the certification process pursuant to this section for a period not to exceed one year.

f. The commissioner shall hold a hearing annually, or more often, for the purpose of adopting regulations to define the specific forms eligible for certification pursuant to this section. Initial regulations shall be adopted pursuant to this section no later than 180 days after enactment of this act.

g. For purposes of this section:

(1) “a responsible officer of the insurer” means a corporate officer of the level of vice president or higher, or of equivalent title within the insurer’s structure, who is either the actuary of the insurer with responsibility for the type of form filed, or the individual with responsibility for managing the form filing process for the insurer with regard to the type of form filed; and

(2) “improper certification” means providing any misrepresentation or false statement material to a certification form required pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

L.1995,C. 73,S.17; amended 1999, C. 275.

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