Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Submits Annual Report on Freedom to Travel Law

Mar 3, 2008

floir.com–March 03, 2008
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty today submitted the 2008 Freedom to Travel Report to legislative leaders detailing the Office of Insurance Regulation’s  (Office) efforts to implement the "Freedom to Travel Act," which was passed in 2006, and codified into law at Section 626.9541(1)(dd), Florida Statutes. The legislation placed strict limitations on insurance companies’ ability to deny or increase premiums for life insurance based on foreign travel.
The report to the President of the Florida Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives is the Office’s second report. Not only does it document a decline in the number of instances and companies that have denied or limited coverage based on foreign travel, but it also outlines the Office’s enforcement efforts. Since the 2007 Freedom to Travel Report to the legislature, the Office has fined seven companies a total of $108,000 for noncompliance with this statute.
"We continue to see progress on this very important issue," remarked Commissioner McCarty. "The Florida Legislature’s action and the Office’s enforcement efforts have helped preserve Americans’ rights of unrestrained, lawful travel outside the United States."
The law states that an insurer may not refuse to issue life insurance to; refuse to continue the life insurance of; or limit the amount, extent, or kind of life insurance coverage available to an individual based solely on the individual’s past lawful foreign travel experiences or future travel plans.
The report also names 105 insurance companies that ask travel-related questions on at least one of their life insurance applications. The data call, sent to 524 insurance entities authorized to write life insurance or annuities in Florida, allowed the Office to survey 1,325,365 life insurance applications.
About the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) has primary responsibility for regulation, compliance and enforcement of statutes related to the business of insurance and the monitoring of industry markets. Business units within the Office are organized based on regulatory expertise and include the areas of life and health, property and casualty, specialty lines and other regulated insurance entities.
It is within the Office that the mission of public protection is implemented through regulatory oversight of insurance company solvency, policy forms and rates, market conduct performance and new company entrants to the Florida market. For more information about the Office, please go to www.floir.com.