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Gallagher Orders United Wisconsin to Stop Doing Business for Unfair Underwriting Practices

7/25/2002

Final Order


TALLAHASSEE - Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher announced today that he has suspended the license of United Wisconsin Life Insurance Company for deceptive and unfair underwriting practices. Under the final order, the company's license has been suspended for one year. It is prohibited from writing new business during this time but can maintain existing business.

"It is fundamentally unfair to reunderwrite policyholders when they become ill and then raise their rates by as much as 200 percent in one year," Gallagher said. "Reunderwriting defies the true principle of health insurance which is to spread risk among a group of insureds."

The final order is effective immediately. United Wisconsin Life Insurance Company has 30 days to appeal the department's ruling. It is estimated that the company has nearly 30,000 policyholders in Florida.

Insurers that use reunderwriting can move policyholders from a block of business in which they were issued coverage to one that is subject to higher renewal rates.

Gallagher has proposed legislation for the last two years to close a loophole in Florida law that allows insurance companies licensed in another state, like United Wisconsin, to market individual health insurance coverage through associations and escape important consumer protections required of Florida-licensed insurers.

Visit www.fldfs.com for a copy of the department's final order. Click on the link to "News Releases."