|By Josh Boatwright, Tampa Tribune, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Officials at Universal, which provides
A court will ultimately decide whether the state takes over the company or if it can be sold to a private buyer, such as
"I've been with them six years, and so far the health care has been wonderful, but you do get concerned about where this is going," said Harrison, who lives in
"It leaves you kind of hanging in the air."
Nothing will change for policyholders, until the state court schedules a hearing, which should happen within a few weeks, said
That's when Universal President and CEO
Desai wrote to state insurance regulators on
That same day, though,
The court determines whether an insurance company is placed in state control for the purpose of liquidation or rehabilitation or whether the company can proceed with its own plan to repair its financials, Lambert said.
If the state liquidates the company, its assets would be used to pay existing claims, and policyholders would be referred to new insurers. In the case of rehabilitation, state agents work with the company to improve its finances, and it will continue to serve existing customers.
"The department's goal is to work very closely with policyholders to communicate any changes and to ensure no lapse in their health care coverage," Lambert said.
Insurance companies that are in rehabilitation can be sold, but a sale becomes unlikely when they go into receivership, she said.
In a letter to state regulators, Desai wrote that
Universal's bankruptcy filings show that its biggest debts are
The company has not had sufficient capital to pay for the number of policies it provides for several years, prompting insurance officials in
Universal has also overstated its financials in recent years and misled one of its creditors, Bank United, when borrowing
The company has had frequent turnover in its chief financial officer position, with five different CFOs in the past six years and no one in that role from
State officials want to stage a deep investigation of the company during receivership to determine its true financial condition, according to documents.
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