Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Submits Annual Report on Freedom to Travel Law
– Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today submitted the 2011 Freedom to Travel Report
to legislative leaders detailing the Office of Insurance Regulation's (Office) efforts to implement the "Freedom to Travel Act." Passed in 2006, the legislation placed strict limitations on insurance companies' ability to deny an application or increase premiums for life insurance or annuities solely based on past or future foreign travel.
The 2011 report showed that 95 of the 475 insurance entities that wrote life insurance or annuities in Florida do include travel related questions in at least one of their applications. The report also showed that five companies admitted to 21 instances of negative decisions based solely on travel. Upon further review, all 21 of these instances pertained to travel to Afghanistan or Iraq, for which coverage denials are permissible under a variance granted by the Office.
"This report shows the continued success of legislation intended to address unfair discrimination in travel for life insurance and annuities projects," remarked Commissioner McCarty. "The report documents the insurance industry’s compliance with this important law that preserves Floridians’ rights to travel outside the United States."
The Office also conducted 12 on-site examinations in addition to a survey of the entire industry. In the examinations, the Office found only one potential violation of the law – although this instance is still under review. The report also included updates from examinations and investigations that were pending as of last year’s report. This is the fifth Freedom to Travel Report issued by the Office.