Office of Insurance Regulation Announces Settlement in which Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company Agrees to Change Its Business Practices and Pay Administrative Fine
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Oct. 7 -- The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation issued the following news release:
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced today that Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company has agreed to implement corrective action, including changes to its claims and underwriting practices that were the subject of a Prior Order the Office issued on May 30, 2013. In a Consent Order dated October 4, 2013, Universal agreed to drop its challenge to the May Order, adopt operational changes substantially similar to those contained in the prior Order, and pay an administrative fine to the Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) totaling $1.26 million. The fine was the same as required by the May Order.
One of the issues involved in the case was the allegation that the company, in some instances, wrote policies without full underwriting, and then only did complete underwriting after a claim was filed. The "post-claim underwriting" resulted in some policyholders having unpaid claims or having coverage cancelled without sufficient notice.
The company agreed in the Consent Order to perform full underwriting within the first 90 days after the effective date of a new policy. It has also agreed to review the 262 claims it previously denied based on allegations of misrepresentation. Florida law allows insurance companies to rescind a policy for fraud or misrepresentation, but the law contains specific requirements which the company has now agreed to apply.
UPCIC is the second largest property insurer in Florida and one of the most active writers with more than $765 million in annual written premium and over 542,000 policyholders. The company represents an estimated 8.9% of the total Florida property insurance market and has been licensed to transact insurance business in the state of Florida since 1997.
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