FACT Book

The Florida Insurance FACT Book is the result of years of pertinent data accumulated by the Florida Insurance Council. It is a one-of-a-kind, constantly evolving, Florida-specific resource that includes important material compiled from Florida Insurance Council, along with data assembled from other Internet sites, including state agencies, the Florida Legislature and important national sources.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Citizens Property Insurance Corporation closed two separate financial transactions Tuesday that provide $1.95 billion in additional claims-paying liquidity for its Personal Lines Account and Commercial Lines Account.

June 2007

From the Insurance Information Institute, New York

Insurance Information Institute

(We believe this is a factual document, but it could be viewed as an advocacy statement. Sam Miller, Florida Insurance  Council.)  

Common Misunderstandings About Credit Scoring: Many people have no idea they are beneficiaries of insurance scoring. More than 50 percent of policyholders have a lower premium because of good credit, insurers say, although consumers themselves, when asked, think most people do not benefit.

Some consumers are disturbed by the fact that, when applying for insurance, one insurer will reject their application based on their insurance score yet another company will find it acceptable. They ask how insurers' responses can be so different when they are all working from essentially the same credit report information. Many large insurance companies have now developed their own insurance scoring model, using their own proprietary information in combination with standard actuarial data. Even when insurers use the leading vendors of insurance scoring models they may have the model tailored to their own target market. Not all insurers are looking to insure the same kind of drivers or homeowners. Some may target only the very best, with no recent accidents or traffic violations, while others may seek out people with a less than perfect record.

Since virtually all companies use credit information in different ways, insurance scoring fosters competition among insurance companies and more choices for the consumer.

Most people think that insurers can obtain all the information they need from state motor vehicle departments and that reportable accidents, speeding tickets, convictions for drunk driving and other traffic violations are automatically, and in this age of electronic communication, instantaneously recorded. But in fact much of that data is missing from motor vehicle records (MVRs).

A 2002 Insurance Research Council study found that MVRs are typically inaccurate. One in five convictions may be missing. An earlier study found that on average only 40 percent of reportable accidents appeared on MVRs. An analysis of current laws shows the amount of useful information is very limited. Some states don't require records of information that show how drivers perform, such as convictions for drunk driving. If a driver is found guilty of an out-of-state infraction, that information is not automatically provided to the state where the licensed driver or vehicle is registered. Other states offer drivers an opportunity to obtain a lesser sentence or to avoid having information noted in the official record. By contrast, credit records are generally complete and where they are not or are inaccurate, there is a clearly defined review process for correcting the deficiencies.

In short, credit information is generally more accurate and that works to the advantage of the majority of insurance consumers. With this information available to insurers, a majority of policyholders will pay less for home and auto insurance.

Research:  A 2004 study commissioned by the Texas Department of Insurance on the use of credit information by insurers doing business in the state found a strong relationship between credit scores and claims experience. The study also found that the use of insurance scores significantly improves pricing accuracy in predicting risk when combined with other rating variables such geographical area and age of driver. Although there was a consistent pattern of differences in credit scores among different racial/ethic groups, with blacks and Hispanics having worse scores than whites and Asians, on average the results were actuarially supported and not unfairly discriminatory. This means that all drivers with the same rating characteristics would be charged the same amount, regardless of race, income or ethnic background. The research, which was required by law, was conducted by the insurance department with assistance from the University of Texas and the Texas A&M University as well as the Office of Public Insurance Counsel. The findings, which were published in December 2004 and January 2005, confirm the results of other studies.

Another earlier Texas study published in March 2003 found a strong correlation between credit history and the filing of an auto insurance claim — both the size and frequency of claims. The Bureau of Business Research at the University of Texas found that when credit scores were matched up with claim data, those with the worst credit scores had claim losses that averaged $918 — 53 percent higher than the expected average—and those with the best credit score had losses that averaged $558 — 25 percent less than the average.

A June 2003 study by EPIC Actuaries conducted for the insurance industry also found that overall, insurance scores significantly increase the accuracy of the risk assessment process. Insurance scores, their study showed, are among the three most important risk characteristics for each of the six major automobile coverages. For example, for property damage liability coverage, those with the worst insurance scores had expected losses of 33 percent above average. Those with the best had losses 19 percent below average. Some 2.7 million records were studied.

Some states have examined the issue of whether credit scores have an adverse impact on low-income or minority populations. A February 2004 report issued by the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA) found that there was insufficient data to conclusively determine whether the use of credit scoring has an adverse impact on these communities because insurers do not collect information on an applicant’s race or income. Without such data, it is not possible to match premiums paid to any socioeconomic group.

The Missouri Department of Insurance claimed in February 2004 that low income households and minorities are adversely affected by insurance scoring. However, the department’s findings were based on flawed methodologies. For example, it aggregates ZIP code credit score data for everyone in a ZIP code area, whether they own cars or homes and therefore purchase auto or homeowners insurance or not.

Typical Provisions in Legislation Regulating Insurers’ Use of Credit Information:

  • Need to File a Model with the Department of Insurance. Insurers are required to file their underwriting model based on insurance scores with the state’s department of insurance.
  • Restrictions on Factors. An insurance score uses information from an individual’s credit history that has been shown to statistically correlate with claim costs. Restrictions on factors that may be used vary from state to state, but may include:
  • Financing a specific item (house, car)
  • Total available credit
  • Disputed items under review
  • Number of credit inquiries (credit card or loan applications)
  • Debt from financing payments to hospitals or for health reasons
  • Use of certain types of credit (personal loans, credit cards)
    Limits on Use. Different states have proposed varying thresholds, but in general they allow insurers to accept or reject an application based on an insurance score.
  • Prohibitions on Penalizing Consumers with No Credit Histories. While credit cards, mortgages and other debt instruments are widely used today, there are still segments of the population (some elderly people, certain religious sects and some low income individuals, including students) that have no experience with credit. Regulations generally require insurers to consider an applicant with a so-called “thin” or “no-hit” file an average risk.
  • Sole Use Rules. Insurance companies are usually barred from using insurance scores as the sole determining criteria in making underwriting or rating decisions.
  • Disclosure Rules. Insurers are required to inform consumers they are using credit information in the underwriting/ratemaking process. If that is a deciding factor in rejecting the application for insurance or another adverse decision, in accordance with the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT), the insurer must notify the individual that credit report information was used and may have to make a copy of the credit report available to the consumer free of charge.
  • Even before the recent surge of interest in the use of credit reports, many states already required insurers to notify their policyholders if credit histories were used or played a role in adverse decisions, such as raising rates or placing a policyholder in a higher rating tier. Many also already barred insurers from using insurance scores as the sole determinant in underwriting — the process of deciding which applicants to accept and classifying those selected —or pricing/rating decisions. As the issue of credit has assumed a higher profile, additional states have passed such laws. Most are based on a model law passed in December 2002 by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL). Among other things, the model legislation requires insurers to disclose to consumers that a credit report may be used and to notify the policyholder in compliance with the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act when credit is the basis for an adverse action. The model law prohibits the use of credit information as the sole basis for refusal to insure or to nonrenew or cancel. It also bars the use of disputed information or information identified as medical collection accounts in the credit report. And it encourages insurers to take into account extraordinary life events, such as catastrophic illness or the death of a spouse.
  • Another area is how lack of credit history — “no-hits” and “thin files” — should be dealt with. The NCOIL model law says that in such cases either the credit score should be considered “neutral,” or average, or credit as an underwriting factor should not be used at all. As a third option, it allows the insurer to follow a procedure of its own. The justification for this must be provided to the insurance department.

A few states have very restrictive rules. A law passed in Washington state in March 2002 prohibits cancellations and nonrenewals based in whole or in part on credit history. Maryland, which had previously allowed the use of information from credit histories, bans the use of credit in homeowners policies and in auto insurance underwriting decisions on existing business. And while credit-related information may be used in rating decisions about new insurance policies, the law imposes a cap on discounts and surcharges related to credit of 40 percent.

Federal Activities: In December 2003, H.R. 2622, the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT) was signed into law, permanently reauthorizing the expiring Fair Credit Reporting Act. FCRA was first created in 1970 and amended in 1996. The new law preempts state privacy laws, some of which are more stringent than the federal law. Banks, insurers and others who use credit information can now work under a uniform set of federal rules. The law gives consumers new fraud and identify-theft protections. It allows them to opt out of information sharing among affiliates if the purpose of the sharing is for marketing. The law also entitles one free credit report a year upon request from the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Consumers can obtain their free reports from http://www.annualcreditreport.com , a service funded by the three agencies.

The law directed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to conduct a study on the use of credit information by financial services companies, including insurers’ use of insurance scoring. The FTC was required to consult with the Office of Fair Housing and Urban Development, part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in researching this issue. The study will evaluate whether the use of credit information has an effect on the affordability and availability of financial services products, including the degree to which it may have a “disparate impact” on various demographic groups. The bill requires the FTC to make recommendations for legislative or administrative actions. The study was to have been completed by the end of 2005. As yet, there is no timetable for the release of the findings.

 

June 2007

From the Insurance Information Institute, New York

Insurance Information Institute 

BACKGROUND

Insurance scores are confidential rankings based on credit history information. They are a measure of how a person manages his or her financial affairs. People who manage their finances well tend to also manage other important aspects of their lives responsibly, such as driving a car. Combined with factors such as geographical area, previous crashes, age and gender, insurance scores enable auto insurers to price more accurately, so that people less likely to file a claim pay less for their insurance than people who are more likely to file a claim. For homeowners insurance, insurers use other factors combined with credit such as the home’s construction, location and proximity to water supplies for fighting fires.

Insurance scores predict the average claim behavior of a group of people with essentially the same credit history. A good score is typically above 760 and a bad score is below 600. People with low insurance scores tend to file more claims. But there are exceptions. Within that group, there may be individuals who have stellar driving records and have never filed a claim just as there are teenager drivers who have never had a crash although teenagers as a group have more accidents than people in other age groups.

Credit Report Information — Who Wants It?: It is becoming increasingly important to have an acceptable credit record. Whether we like it or not, society equates the ability to manage credit responsibly with responsible behavior, even if individuals have a bad credit record through no fault of their own. Landlords often look at applicants’ credit records before renting apartments to see whether they manage their finances responsibly and are therefore likely to pay their rent on time. Banks and other lenders look at the credit records of loan applicants to find out whether they are likely to have loans repaid. Some employers also look at credit records, especially where employees handle money, and view a good credit record as a measure of maturity and stability.

In some insurance companies, underwriters have long used credit records in cases where additional information was needed. Before the development of automated scoring systems, underwriters would look at the data and make decisions, often erring on the overly cautious side that disadvantaged many more people. Automated insurance scoring and underwriting systems eliminate the weaknesses inherent in someone's personal judgment and have allowed more drivers to be placed in preferred and standard rating classifications, saving them money. With the development of these scoring models, the use of credit-related information in underwriting and rating for many insurers has become routine. Insurers use insurance scores to different extents and in different ways. Most use them to screen new applicants for insurance and price new business.

Why Insurers Need It: Insurers need to be able to assess the risk of loss—the possibility that a driver or a homeowner will have an accident and file a claim—in order to decide whether to insure that individual and what rate to set for the coverage provided. The more accurate the information, the closer the insurance company can come to making appropriate decisions. Where information is insufficient, applicants for insurance may be placed in the wrong risk classification. That means that some good drivers will pay more than they should for coverage and some bad drivers will pay less than they should. The insurance company will probably collect enough premiums between the two groups to pay claims and expenses, but the good drivers will be subsidizing the bad.

By law in every state, insurers are prohibited from setting rates that unfairly discriminate against any individual. But the underwriting and rating processes are geared specifically to differentiate good risks from bad risks. Since insurance is a business, insurers favor those applicants that are least likely to suffer a loss. One of the key competitive aspects of the personal lines insurance business is the ability to segment risks and price policies accurately according to the likely cost of claims generated by those policies. Insurance scores help insurers accomplish these objectives. Actuarial studies by Tillinghast, an actuarial consultant firm, have shown a 99 percent correlation between insurance scores and loss ratio—the cost of claims filed relative to the premium dollars collected. In other words, people who have low insurance scores, as a group, account for a high proportion of the dollars paid out in claims.

Insurance scores developed by the insurance scoring company Fair Isaac involve a set of 15 to 30 credit characteristics, each with an assigned weight, that produce a score ranging from 100 to 999. The lower the score, the greater the risk. According to Fair Isaac, 76 percent of consumers exhibit good or fair credit management behavior. Only four percent of the population are so-called “no hits” with no credit history. This small group would include the very young, who have not yet established a credit history; those who might not use credit for personal or religious grounds; and retirees who have probably paid off their mortgage.

The reasons behind the predictive value of credit scores appear to be behavioral. The character trait that leads to careful money management seems to show up in other daily situations in which people have to make decisions about how to act, such as driving. People who manage money carefully may be more likely to have their car serviced at appropriate times and may also more effectively manage the most important financial asset most Americans own—their house—making routine repairs before they become major insurance losses. But of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. For example, there are people who have filed for bankruptcy that have never filed an insurance claim. Furthermore, a low insurance score doesn't predict that a person will have an accident.

The information used in insurance scoring models does not include personal data such as a person’s ethnic group, religion, gender, family or marital status, handicaps, nationality, age, address or income. The scoring process relies on information in a person's credit record. Particular emphasis is placed on those items associated with credit management patterns proven to correlate most closely with insurance risk, such as outstanding debt, length of credit history, late payments, collections and bankruptcies, and new applications for credit. Credit-related activities within the last 12 months are given most weight.

 

June 2007  

From the Insurance Information Institute, New York

Insurance Information Institute

The goal of every insurance company is to correlate rates for insurance policies as closely as possible with the actual cost of claims. If insurers set rates too high they will lose market share to competitors who have more accurately matched rates to expected costs. If they set rates too low they will lose money. This continuous search for accuracy is good for consumers as well as insurance companies. The majority of consumers benefit because they are not subsidizing people who are worse insurance risks — people who are more likely to file claims than they are.

The computerization of data has brought more accuracy, speed and efficiency to businesses of all kinds. In the insurance arena, credit information has been used for decades to help underwriters decide whether to accept or reject applications for insurance. Now advances in information technology have led to the development of insurance scores, which enable insurers to better assess the risk of future claims.

An insurance score is a numerical ranking based on a person’s credit history. Actuarial studies show that how a person manages his or her financial affairs, which is what an insurance score indicates, is a good predictor of insurance claims. Insurance scores are used to help insurers differentiate between lower and higher insurance risks and thus charge a premium equal to the risk they are assuming. Statistically, people who have a poor insurance score are more likely to file a claim.

Insurance scores do not include data on race or income because insurers do not collect this information from applicants for insurance.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Florida: On December 29, 2006 in Florida an administrative law judge threw out a rule that would have effectively eliminated the use of credit. On June 30, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation noticed in the Florida Administrative Weekly its intent to adopt two new rules which insurers believe also effectively eliminate insurance scoring. Insurers are now considering their options.

In 2003,  the Florida Legislature passed a law regulating the industry’s use of credit-related information. The measure basically allowed insurers to use credit scoring as long as they complied with the consumer safeguards set out in the law. These generally follow provisions included in the model law passed by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators in 2002. However, the state’s regulators, who must implement laws enacted by the legislature, chose to implement the 2003 law by adding a rule that would have required insurers to prove that their use of credit-related information does not unfairly discriminate against specific demographic groups or places of residence, a provision that was not part of the original legislation. Insurers have no way of knowing whether or not any demographic groups are adversely impacted by the use of credit scores because they do not collect demographic data about their policyholders or the people who apply for insurance. This information would have been needed in order to prove or disprove the disparate impact concept. The court found that the state’s Financial Services Commission did not define such terms as ”unfairly discriminatory” adequately enough to allow insurers to know whether their rates could be categorized as such. The new rules are still being reviewed by the Florida Insurance Council and national insurance trade groups, but they require insurers to collect sensitive, personal information on consumers and raise standards and tests for the use of credit as an insurance took which practically cannot be met. 

Oregon: Voters rejected Oregon ballot initiative 42 that would have banned insurers’ use of insurance scores in rating and underwriting. Currently, insurers doing business in the state must notify policyholders if use of their credit history results in an adverse decision and they may not use credit as a justification for canceling or non-renewing a homeowners or auto insurance policy.

A study by ECONorthwest commissioned by Oregonians Against Insurance Rate Increases shows that in Oregon, 58 percent of auto policyholders and 53 percent of homeowners policyholders paid lower premiums due to the use of credit information by their insurer. Auto insurance policyholders with a favorable credit score paid as much as 48 percent less than they would have paid without the insurer’s use of credit information, with an average saving of $115, and homeowners paid an average of $60 less. The actual savings varied significantly from insurer to insurer. The report released by ECONorthwest also explains how credit information supplements other rating factors such as age and territory – where a driver lives – allowing applicants with a good score who might otherwise have been categorized as a bad risk obtain coverage and/or qualify for a better rate.

Michigan: The Michigan insurance department is appealing a circuit court ruling in April 2005 on insurers’ use of credit. The judge said that the rule as proposed by the Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS) was illegal, invalid and unenforceable because the Office was attempting to rewrite the Insurance Code through administrative rulemaking. The judge said that the evidence shows that policyholders with low credit scores present a higher risk than policyholders with higher scores and that one of the basic principles of insurance was that higher risk policyholders should pay higher rates. The lawsuit stemmed from a decision by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Insurance Commissioner Linda Watters, announced in April 2004, that the state would ban the use of insurance scoring in personal lines insurance as a rating factor and in underwriting. The two officials said eliminating the use of credit would produce lower base rates and make insurance more affordable but, in fact, because more people benefit from the use of insurance scoring than are penalized, most people would have seen a rise in rates. Auto insurance rates are higher than average in Michigan, in part because the state’s auto insurance system provides generous medical care benefits. The court is expected to issue a ruling soon. Meanwhile, insurers may use credit scoring to discount premiums.

Other States: In Minnesota and Arkansas, bills have already been filed this year that would limit insurers’ use of credit. According to Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, 26 states have adopted laws on credit or regulations based largely on the National Conference of Insurance Legislators’ model law. Four states restrict the use of credit in some way, one prohibiting it for only one type of insurance.

In Delaware, a compromise bill on credit scoring was worked out that would still make the state one of the most restrictive. The bill originally banned the use of credit scoring for homeowners and auto insurance but was amended to prohibit insurers from using credit as the sole determinant of new policy underwriting and rating decisions, similar to provisions that already existed. However, the bill also prohibits insurers from increasing premiums on renewal due to a change in credit history. The bill was approved by the Senate in May.

In New Mexico, insurers and the state’s insurance department have launched a campaign to help the public understand the state’s credit-based scoring law. The law is based on the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) model law which protects consumers whose credit has been lowered by financial difficulties following a divorce, illness or other “extraordinary life circumstances.” The New Mexico law also protects people who have no credit history. About half of the 48 states that have a law on credit scoring use the NCOIL model.

Adverse Action Notices: In Washington State, the state insurance department promulgated a new rule that requires insurers to provide specific and detailed reasons and explanations, in plain, unambiguous language, whenever they inform consumers of an “adverse action.” Adverse actions include nonrenewal of an existing insurance policy, an increase in premium or a refusal to issue a new policy, based on credit scores. Under the rule, insurers must provide a description of the element in the credit history that adversely affects the consumer’s insurance score. They must also explain how this affects the insurance score and what consumers can do to improve this aspect of their score.

In June 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned appeals court rulings in two cases that centered on when insurers are required to send consumers notices to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Siding with insurers on the issue, the high court said that the companies were not breaking the law. The 9th Circuit court had ruled in the first case that an insurer must issue adverse action notices whenever a consumer’s credit information does not result in the consumer receiving the best possible rate but the high court said that such actions would result in too many notices being sent that were likely to be ignored. In the second case, it said that the company had not acted recklessly in willful disregard of the law.

Federal Activities: The General Accounting Office (GAO) has concluded, based on a survey of some 1,500 consumers, that people understand the basics of credit reporting but are largely unaware of the impact their credit history can have on employment opportunities and insurance rates. The survey was taken in accordance with provisions in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, see Background. The GAO has recommended that the Treasury and Federal Trade Commission take steps to improve consumers’ understanding of credit scoring and how credit histories are used, targeting in particular those with less education and less experience in obtaining credit.

April 16, 2007

Prepared by Florida Insurance Council staff

The National Hurricane Center in Miami-Dade County last week revised its list of the costliest as well as deadliest hurricanes. According to the NHC, 2004/2005 produced seven of the nine costliest hurricanes to strike the U.S. coastline since 1900 and did $167 billion in total damage. And all seven struck Florida - Charley, Ivan, Frances and Jeanne in 2004; and Katrina, Wilma and Rita in 2005.

The report is available from the NHC Internet site through this link:

NHC: Most Expensive Hurricanes

August 8, 2007

Florida's Surplus Lines Industry - Supplementing Regular Market;
Almost 1 Million Policies in Force

By the Florida Insurance Council & Florida Surplus Lines Service Office

Additional information is available from the home page of the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office through this link:

Florida Surplus Lines Services Office

(850) 224.7676,  Fax: (850) 513.9624.

Surplus Lines Insurers, Agents, and Policyholders

Surplus lines insurance is insurance coverage provided by an insurance company that is not licensed in Florida, but is allowed (made eligible through the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation) to do business in the state because the particular coverage offered is not available from Florida-licensed companies. Commercial general liability policies and similar policies typically exclude coverage for high-risk activities; a surplus lines policy provides a business with coverage for those activities. Hazardous materials transporters, day care centers, nuclear power plants, and taverns are among the kinds of businesses that usually need to obtain liability coverage in the surplus lines market.

In general, insurance is eligible for export to surplus lines insurers: if the full amount of required coverage cannot, after diligent effort by the retail agent, be procured from any admitted insurer; if the premium s no lower than the rate actually in use by a majority of admitted insurers for the same coverage on a similar risk; if the policy form is no more favorable to the insured than the forms in use by a majority of dmitted insurers; and if the policy contains no deductible other than
those currently in use by any admitted insurer.

For 2006, the Florida Surplus Lines Service Office (FSLSO) reported more han 150 surplus lines insurers took in more than $3.5 billion in premium on more than 812,000 policies in effect. There were 570 licensed Florida surplus lines insurance agents who placed coverages in 2006.

According to the July 2004 Florida Underwriter, "the largest number of policyholders buy coverage for boats as well as commercial general iability." "But measured by premium dollars, the biggest market for surplus lines insurers is commercial property," the Underwriter reported. The rampant development along hundred of miles of hurricane-susceptible Florida coastline and two devastating hurricane seasons, are two big reasons why surplus lines insurers continue to be
growing business here.

 South Florida (Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties) leads the state in surplus lines premium volume.

Residential insurance from the surplus lines industry has generally been limited to excess coverage for high value homes near or on the water, usually the coverage in excess of the maximum coverage provided by the residual market; and master policies for condominium homeowners associations, primarily in southeast Florida.

In order for an insurer to be an eligible surplus lines insurer, it must have been licensed in its state or country of domicile for at least three years; must have surplus of at least $15 million (By contract, the required minimum surplus to maintain a certificate of authority as a property and casualty insurer is $4 million.); must have a good reputation, and must meet the trustworthiness and criminal history requirements that apply to admitted insurers under s.624.404(3), F.S. 

Surplus lines agents play a key role in assuring compliance with the surplus lines laws. The agent must determine that the applicant qualifies for surplus lines coverage and that the surplus lines insurer is eligible. Surplus lines agents are responsible for electronically filing policy transactions with the FSLSO within 30 days of the effective date. In addition, the surplus lines agent must file a Quarterly Report Affidavit with the FSLSO attesting to the aggregate premium filed with the FSLSO for each ending quarter. There are no automatic filing requirements for the policy forms themselves, but an
agent must file a copy of a form upon request of the department or the FSLSO. Agents are required to maintain certain records, which are subject to examination by the department and FSLSO.

Surplus lines policyholders are not protected by guaranty association in the event of the insurer's insolvency. However, the surplus lines industry as a whole appears to be financially sound. Among the 654 property and Casualty insolvencies A.M. Best has evaluated from 1972 through 2001, only 7 percent were companies writing surplus lines insurance.

Surplus Lines Stamping Office

Currently, there are 14 "stamping offices" that have been established, including California, New York, Texas, Illinois and Florida, to provide additional regulatory oversight of the surplus lines industry. The functions of these offices vary from state to state, but usually include the review of forms to determine whether they are in compliance with the
statute, enhanced data collection, and calculation and collection of taxes.

The Florida Surplus Lines Service Office, created during the 1997 Legislative Session, is a nonprofit association of which all surplus lines agents are members. Agents file electronically with the service office a copy of, or information on, each surplus lines policy or other ocument required by the Service Office's plan of operation.

For additional information contact: Gary Pullen, Florida Surplus Lines Service Office, 1441 Maclay Commerce Drive, Suite 200, Tallahassee, FL 32312,
800-562-4496,
(850) 224.7676,  Fax: (850) 513.9624.

 

 

 

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