Court rejects (maybe) appeal of Allstate suspension

Apr 22, 2008

Miami Herald–April 22, 2008



Florida’s Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty was in the middle of a news conference announcing that the First District Court of Appeal had denied Allstate’s motion for a rehearing on the state’s suspension of its license. Then he paused.

A message came from the clerk of the appeals court that its opinion, issued about 4:30 p.m. Monday, was due to a clerical error.

With the initial decision withdrawn, that means the stay on the state’s suspension of Allstate’s license to write new policies remains in effect. The insurer can continue offering new coverage until there is a final order from the court.

The Office of Insurance Regulation had no explanation from the appeals court on how or why the so-called clerical error occurred.

If the appeals court’s comes back with an order denying Allstate’s rehearing motion, then the suspension of Allstate’s license, issued initially Jan. 16, goes into effect immediately.

It would be seen as a major victory for the state. McCarty had pulled the authority for Allstate Floridian and its sister companies to write new business because the company hadn’t complied with a subpoena for information on its rate filings.

Allstate has cooperated and turned over boxes of documents, including a set of presentations prepared by a consultant that the insurer had guarded zealously for more than a decade. But McCarty said Monday that Allstate still hasn’t provided documents about the insurers’ communications with rating agencies and trade associations.

The appeals court couldn’t be reached for an explanation on how the clerical error occurred. Tom Zutell, an OIR spokesman, said McCarty is eagerly awaiting the court’s final decision.