Vanguard Fire & Casualty Ordered into Liquidation
CONTACT: Tara Klimek or Nina Banister
TALLAHASSEE—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.
The 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.”
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.
As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink oversees the department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Sink also serves as the State Fire Marshal.