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State Farm review widens

More internal documents sought.

By TOM ZUCCO, Times Staff Writer
Published September 8, 2007


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For the past month, Florida insurance regulators have taken a hard look at internal documents they demanded from State Farm. Now they want to see more.

Regulators said Friday they have expanded their review of State Farm's property and auto insurance business and will take the unusual step of extending a public hearing from one to two days.

Regulators sent subpoenas last month to State Farm officials requiring them to appear and discuss their recently announced plans to drop 50,000 mostly high-risk policyholders starting next year.

Regulators also want State Farm, Florida's second largest property insurer with about 1-million policyholders, to explain its multi-lines discounts, its decision to withdraw from the condominium business in Florida and the impact those decisions have on State Farm rates.

State Farm sells property and auto insurance in Florida through three companies: State Farm Florida Insurance, State Farm Florida Fire and Casualty and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance.

"Based on an extensive review of the State Farm documents submitted, a decision has been made to expand the scope of the review and the length of the hearing," Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said in a statement.

Regulators say they are still receiving documents from State Farm, and that the companies have complied with directives in the subpoenas.

"As with any review, when more information becomes available and further review is conducted, more questions tend to arise," Florida Office of Insurance Regulation spokesman Jonathon Kees said Friday.

State Farm says it's the vast number of documents regulators requested that brought on the expanded hearing.

"We've provided nearly 30,000 pages of documents to regulators as a result of the subpoenas," said State Farm spokesman Chris Neal. "It's kind of what we would have expected and nothing else."

Tom Zucco can be reached at zucco@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8247.

If you go
The public hearing is scheduled for Nov. 14-15 at the Senate Office Building in Tallahassee. For information, call 850-413-3140 or go to www.floir.com and click on "public hearings."

[Last modified September 7, 2007, 23:23:20]


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