NU Online News Service, June 29, 2004, 5:29 p.m. EDT

Maryland regulators have ordered 4 affiliates of Assurant Inc., New York, to refund $6.5 million in credit insurance premiums to more than 300,000 customers in Maryland.[@@]

The state Insurance Administration charged that the premium amounts were above the rates allowed under rules it imposed in January 2003.

The agreement covers policies issued by Assurant subsidiaries American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, American Security Insurance Company, American Reliable Insurance Company and Standard Guaranty Insurance Company, regulators say.

The 2003 regulation established minimum loss ratios for carriers offering credit insurance in the state and required premiums charged to consumers to be aligned closely with the claims amounts that the carriers were actually paying.

Maryland regulators say the Assurant affiliates imposed premiums that exceeded allowed amounts until April 2004.