Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New lawsuit seeks to ensure that NJ Insurance Underwriting Association is OPRA compliant.

The New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association (NJIUA) was created by the New Jersey Legislature in 1968 to provide property insurance to people who are not able to find coverage through ordinary markets.  It describes itself as "the market of last resort" for property insurance.

Like some other state-created organizations, the NJIUA does not perceive itself as being subject to New Jersey's Open Public Records Act (OPRA).  In response to a September 8, 2016 OPRA request, the NJIUA's attorney conceded that the Association had not adopted an official OPRA request form and that it had not designated an official records custodian as required by statute. 

The attorney, Hugh P. Francis of Morristown, also said that he was "reluctant" to release the names and salaries of the NJIUA's employees unless he was first informed of why that information was needed.  Section 10 of OPRA, however, makes employee names and salaries public information.

Today, attorney CJ Griffin of Hackensack filed a lawsuit--Libertarians for Transparent Government (LFTG) v. New Jersey New Jersey Insurance Underwriting Association--seeking a ruling that the NJIUA is subject to OPRA and violated the statute by not having adopting an OPRA request form and for not providing the requested name and salary information.

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