State fires back at Allstate

Apr 17, 2008

Regulators want to keep an order in place that blocks the writing of new policies.

Anika Myers Palm
Sentinel staff writer
Orlando Sentinel--April 17, 2008

State insurance regulators say Allstate hasn’t done a good job of explaining why it should be permitted to sell new policies in Florida.

In a response filed Wednesday in the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation asked the court to uphold a suspension of Allstate’s authority to write any new business in the state. The response said Allstate, in its bid to have the suspension stayed, failed to find any facts or points of law that the court had overlooked or misunderstood.

The Allstate saga began in January, when Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, angered by Allstate’s refusal to submit documents requested by a subpoena from the state, issued an order that restricted Allstate from writing new policies. The order affected the Allstate companies’ business in auto, boat and life insurance.

The court first stayed the suspension, but then in a surprise April 4 ruling, said insurance regulators did have the right to block Allstate from writing new policies.

In Wednesday’s filing, insurance regulators also took a swipe at Allstate for the length of its 45-page request for a rehearing, filed Monday. The company’s motion didn’t say anything new and was longer than its initial appeal in the case, which was 37 pages, the response read.

The Office of Insurance Regulation has previously accused Allstate of criminal behavior for its refusal to submit requested documents. The company has said it is complying with the regulators’ request and has submitted hundreds of thousands of pages of documents.

Allstate is no stranger to tangles with state regulators.

The company has paid millions of dollars in fines in Missouri for its refusal to provide documents requested in a case in that state. It also is preparing arguments to appeal an order to cut its auto-insurance rates by 15.9 percent in California.