Insurance Commissioner Orders Emergency Statewide Relief Following Back-To-Back Hurricanes
Contact: Bob Lotane
Tallahassee – Commissioner of Insurance Regulation for the state of Florida, Kevin McCarty, has ordered the state's insurers to provide the same temporary relief for those affected by Hurricane Frances as was ordered for the victims of Hurricane Charley. McCarty's order disallows the cancellation or non-renewal of insurance policies and also requires insurers to report on market activity.
"There is basically no area of the state that has not in some way been slowed, affected or destroyed by these back-to-back catastrophes," said McCarty. "Until we can substantially alleviate the flooding, dislocation and destruction wrought by Charley and Frances, I believe it is in the public's interest to, at the very least, not have to worry about their insurance coverage." At least 30 deaths have been attributed to the two storms, also preliminary estimates peg total property losses at up to $20 billion.
Commissioner McCarty issued the new order under authority granted to his Office to alter or suspend rules and statutes to respond to the grave situation created by the two hurricanes. Previously these measures were ordered for the counties significantly affected by Hurricane Charley. The Emergency Order will now apply to the entire state of Florida and mandates:
1) All insurance policies may not be cancelled until after October 15, 2004, with the exception of commercial insurance policies for firms or companies principally based outside of Florida.
2) Florida homeowners insurance policies may not be cancelled or non-renewed through November 30, 2004.
3) No homeowners insurance policy can be canceled solely as a result of claims resulting from Hurricane Charley or Hurricane Frances.
4) All Property and Casualty insurers must report monthly all policy cancellations and non-renewals.
5) Prohibits insurers from instituting rate hikes without prior approval of the Office of Insurance Regulation.
In signing the orders Commissioner McCarty said, "We have set a high bar for the insurance industry to clear in responding to these events. So far the companies have met these high standards, and we look forward to them continuing to do so."