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Sunshine State Regulators Find Little Travel Underwriting

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Florida life insurers that responded to a state data call say they rejected only 7 life applications in 2007 in connection with concerns about the applicants’ travel plans.

The insurers, which reported receiving a total of about 1.3 million applications, also limited coverage based on 9 applicants’ future travel plans.

Officials at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation collected the data from 436 life insurers to help evaluate life insurers’ response to a law sharply limiting life insurers’ ability to deny or limit coverage based on applicants’ travel plans.

Florida lawmakers enacted the restriction in part because of the concerns of a member of Congress that some insurers might be refusing to cover applicants who had traveled to Israel.

An insurer blamed one policy rejection mainly on a belief that the applicant lived overseas, rather than concerns about foreign travel, and another insurer said one applicant was denied due to a belief that the applicant would be engaged in foreign travel while on active duty with the National Guard, officials say.

Other insurers said staffers accidentally rejected or limited coverage due to travel concerns because those insurers engage in travel underwriting in other states, officials report.

Officials note that 88 companies, including 30 companies that were “de-activated” in 2007, failed to respond to the data call.


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