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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a new regulation which prohibits insurance companies from refusing to provide commercial crime insurance coverage to New York businesses that employ people with criminal convictions.

The regulation - said to be the first of its kind in the nation - is intended to make it easier for businesses to hire individuals with criminal records, while helping businesses obtain the necessary coverage for any loss or damage caused by an employee with a criminal record. The Governor's office noted that with 2.3 million people in New York with criminal convictions, this new regulation now ensures employers are able to obtain this coverage, provided that they have considered a set of factors outlined in New York State law governing the hiring of people with criminal convictions. These factors include whether the offense is related to duties that the employee will perform, the time that has passed since the conviction and evidence of good conduct by the applicant.

According to the State, commercial crime insurance policies often exclude coverage for loss or damage caused by employees with criminal convictions, if the employer knew about the prior conviction. This put employers in the untenable position of either not being able to obtain such insurance or violating State law by not hiring an otherwise qualified individual. The regulation takes effect on July 1, 2017.