Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry P. Lewis has ordered
Maitland-based Vanguard Fire & Casualty Company into liquidation, effective
Monday, to ensure policyholder claims continue to be paid. The Department
of Financial Services was named receiver in January for purposes of
rehabilitation and has paid more than $6 million in claims using company
assets, but has determined the company’s cash and reserves are not enough to
keep up with claims.
department has a request pending in the same court asking for permission to
allow the company’s approximately 57,000 homeowner policyholders to be
offered replacement coverage by either Royal Palm Insurance Company (Royal
Palm) or Security First Insurance Company (Security First). If the court
approves, replacement coverage will be effective April 25, 2007, or upon
expiration of the policyholder’s Vanguard coverage, whichever occurs first.
Policyholders also will be free to choose other companies for coverage.
“Getting the company into the
liquidation process will allow us to immediately begin paying claims from
the state’s Florida Insurance Guaranty Association,” said Florida Chief
Financial Officer Alex Sink, who as CFO oversees the department. “Our top
priority is to take care of policyholders and ensure their claims are paid.” CONTINUED
The company consented to being placed in
receivership for rehabilitation on January 19. At that time, Vanguard had
already announced it had stopped writing new coverage in early January and
would not write renewal coverage after April 19, 2007. As a result of the
liquidation order, signed Thursday, Vanguard homeowner policies will be
cancelled at 12:01 a.m. on April 25, 2007.
Questions relating to current Vanguard policy, coverage and
claim issues should be directed to Vanguard Fire & Casualty Company at
1-866-830-6423. Policy-related questions should continue to be directed to
Vanguard Fire & Casualty Company at 1-866-830-6423 until further notice.
Beginning on Monday, claimants who need to check on the status of an
existing claim, or report a new claim should call the Florida Insurance
Guaranty Association at 1-866-928-4310.
For any other questions, consumers can call the
Florida Department of Financial Services at 1-800-882-3054.
The liquidation order can be