Fla. Responds to PIA Request to Protect Soldiers

June 23, 2004

Florida officials are responding to a call by the Professional Insurance Agents of Florida (PIA) making it clear that no insurance company should deny auto coverage to U.S. Armed Forces personnel, or raise their rates, because their coverage lapsed while they were on active duty overseas.

Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher announced last week 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. Florida is one of the latest states to issue statements that say there should be no denials of auto insurance coverage or rate increases for soldiers returning from active duty based upon a lack of continuous coverage.

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 asked the Office of Insurance Regulation 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. Florida currently has 21 active military installations and three joint commands in 13 counties.

“PIA applauds insurance officials in Florida for going to bat for our
Armed Services personnel who are serving us so well,” said PIA of
Florida executive vice president Mark O’Connell. “We urge all other
state officials to follow the lead of their colleagues who are acting
quickly in support of our troops.”

“This is just the right thing to do,” said PIA of Florida president
Donnie McMahon of Pensacola, Florida. “As professional insurance agents, we are accustomed to advocating for our customers. In this instance, we are proud to advocate for both our clients and our country.”

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