Judge Recommends Insurer’s Authority To Conduct Business Be Suspended
Tallahassee - An Administrative Law Judge has recommended that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation suspend the license of an insurance company that refused to comply with a regulatory order. William F. Quattlebaum, acting for the Division of Administrative Hearings (DOAH), recommended that Superior Insurance Company have its Certificate of Authority to transact insurance business in Florida suspended for up to two years.
Superior Insurance Company markets automobile insurance in Florida, primarily selling to higher risk policyholders the southern part of the state. It was found that the company failed to obtain 15 million dollars in "finance and service fees" that were improperly forwarded to Superior's parent company.
The Office of Insurance Regulation had ordered Superior Insurance to have those funds repaid from the parent company, in August of 2001. Superior Insurance also disregarded a provision of the order to cease forwarding the "finance and service fees."
Judge Quattlebaum found that under Florida law, the license suspension was called for as the company "is using such methods and practices in the conduct of its business as to render its further transaction of insurance in this state hazardous or injurious to its policyholders or to the public."
Director of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Kevin McCarty applauded the DOAH recommendation, as it reinforces his agency's efforts to assure that insurers have adequate funds to cover the claims of Floridians:
"The companies that are authorized to transact business in this state are made aware of their obligations to maintain adequate reserves and Superior Insurance Company certainly has been no exception. The financial shenanigans they have engaged in have put policyholders at risk, and we will not tolerate it."
The Office of Insurance Regulation has 90 days to issue its final order regarding potential suspension of the Superior Insurance Company's Certificate of Authority and on how long any suspension might last.