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Florida Insurers Asked to Waive Guidelines for Military Personnel

6/17/2004

CONTACT: Tami Torres
(850) 413-2842

TALLAHASSEE-Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced today that he is urging state regulators to require insurance companies operating in Florida to give special consideration to service personnel who experience lapses in their insurance coverage.

"It is only recently that we began hearing complaints from members of the Armed Forces returning from active duty," Gallagher said. "But what we heard was very disheartening: service men and women returning to find their auto premiums significantly increased or their applications for new coverage denied."

Service personnel often discontinue their insurance coverage when they are activated for overseas duty. Under most insurance companies' underwriting guidelines, a lapse in coverage - whether for homeowners, auto or health - can result in higher premiums, cancelled coverage or denied coverage.

Gallagher has asked the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) to immediately issue a bulletin to Florida-licensed insurance companies asking them to give special consideration to Florida's 80,000 active-duty military personnel. Specifically, Gallagher wants insurers to waive their continuity of coverage guidelines when the policyholder is a member of the military who was in good standing when they left for active duty.

Gallagher said he anticipates insurers will be willing to comply now that they better understand the circumstances of military personnel.

Florida currently has 21 active military installations and three joint commands in 13 counties.