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Inciting Smiles

I don’t know about you, but I find that after I have been looking at the same insurance policy forms for the past several hours, it takes very little to amuse me.

The other day I was humming along, reviewing application forms for individual corporate-owned life insurance, when I saw in the COLI checklist a reference to § 4216, which is one of the most important sections of the NY Insurance Law for the review of group life insurance policies, but one I do not have printed at my desk.

So, acting almost on auto-pilot, I dutifully logged in to Westlaw, entered my search terms of 4216 and New York, hit enter, waited for the results (which always, irritatingly, defaults to case law), clicked on Statutes, waited again, then automatically moved my mouse toward the first hit: Section 4216.

But then, I really smiled. Not quite an LOL, but close.

This statute that came up first on the list was from the Public Health Law, not the Insurance Law.

It read: § 4216 -- Body Stealing.

Of course I had to read the statute, which, fortunately, was only one paragraph. It turns out that removing any part of a dead body without having the authority to do so, from graveyards or vaults or really anywhere, for the purpose of selling it, or dissecting it, or because you’re feeling malicious or wanton, is a class D felony in New York.

As I said, some days it doesn’t take much.

If you’re wondering, the correct cite is §4216 -- Group life insurance; premium requirements; notice of conversion; filing of compensation. It’s 14 pages long. No body parts or felonies are mentioned. I noted that the employee has to be notified if the employer will be the beneficiary of the policy he’s applying for. But now I also know that even if the employee dies, and even if the employer gets the death benefit, the employer is still under no circumstances allowed to steal his body parts.