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Press Release

Floridians No Longer Face Discrimination In Insurance Based On Travel Plans
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
TALLAHASSEE – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today announced passage of a new rule that will prevent insurance companies from unfairly discriminating against people who travel outside the country.  The measure prohibits charging higher rates or refusing coverage to those applying for insurance unless the insurer can provide justification as to why the travel has an adverse effect on their health or life expectancy. The rule was passed unanimously by the Financial Services Commission (FSC).
 
Following reports that insurers were engaging in the practice, the Office of Insurance Regulation (Office), which McCarty oversees, investigated and found 63 companies with questions about travel on their applications.  So far 44 of the companies have removed the question from their applications. 
 
"To charge higher rates or deny coverage to people simply because they plan to engage in lawful international travel is simply wrong," said McCarty.  "I thank Gov. Bush, the Commission and the Legislature for acting to stop this type of discrimination in the future."
 
The 2006 Legislature passed HB 299, filed by Sen. Dave Aronberg and Rep. Eleanor Sobel, which makes it an unfair trade practice to use travel plans in underwriting life insurance policies unless the insurer can prove that it is based on sound actuarial principles and actual or reasonably anticipated experience.  Also under the legislation, the Office will be required to review all applications that are denied based on travel in future market conduct examinations and it will triple the fines for such violations.
 
 
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