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Press Release

Information From The Office Of Insurance Regulation
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Contact:  Beth Scott
               (850) 413-2515
Tallahassee – The Florida Cabinet gave its approval today for the Office of Insurance Regulation to conduct a Public Hearing to allow public input for a rule prohibiting discrimination by life insurers based on a person's past or future travel plans.
Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty presented the request to the Cabinet as part of the rulemaking process for a new Rule 690-125.003, Relating to Unfair Discrimination Because of Travel Plans, F.A.C. The hearing is set for March 31 at 9:30 a.m. in the Larson Building, 200 East Gaines Street, Tallahassee.
Although initiation of the rule was prompted by a situation with a life insurance policy, the rule prohibits insurers from refusing to issue coverage or charging additional premium based on the applicant's past lawful travel or intent of future lawful travel.
The rule extends the prohibition to all lines of insurance. Consistent with Florida's administrative procedures, the Office conducted a workshop on Oct. 3, 2005, the rule was published and a hearing was held Dec. 16.
The Office is developing the rule as authorized by the Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act, which says insurance companies cannot refuse coverage or charge different rates to consumers without actuarial justification.
In addition to the rule, the Florida Legislature is considering two pieces of legislation, Senate Bill 764 and House Bill 299, which would establish public policy to prohibit the use of travel considerations in underwriting.
After travel discrimination came to the attention of the Office, it was determined that 48 insurers have filed with the Office questionnaires with application forms in which they asked about either past travel outside of the United States and/or whether the applicant intends to travel outside the United States in the future.
Insurers whose applications include questions about past or intended travel have been directed to withdraw those forms unless or until the insurer provides the Office with actuarial justification for use of travel related questions.