Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty announced the Office of Insurance Regulation has filed an administrative complaint against American General Life Insurance Co. seeking to suspend or revoke its certificate of authority to write insurance policies in Florida, and requiring the company to cease and desist from unfair trade practices as defined in Florida’s Freedom to Travel Act.
The complaint specifically cites multiple counts of American General refusing to provide policies or limiting the amount, extent or kind of life insurance based solely on the individual's future lawful travel plans.
"When assessing their life insurance needs, consumers should not have to worry about how their travel plans might affect their ability to get insurance," says General Counsel Steve Parton. "Seeking to suspend a company's license is not something we take lightly. However, given that these actions are in clear violation of the law, the office is left with little choice. The office has warned American General in the past, but they have refused to change their practices."
The most high-profile incident involved U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, (D-Fla.), who in 2005 submitted a life insurance application to American General seeking to increase her current life insurance policy. She had indicated on her application that she had future plans for international travel. While Wasserman Schultz did not address specifics in the application, American General later called and spoke with her husband, who indicated that there was a possibility that she may plan future travel to Israel.
"Having personally experienced this kind of discriminatory behavior, I am glad to see that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is taking this extreme action against American General," says Wasserman Schultz. "As Americans, the ability to travel freely is a right we cherish. Our legal travel choices should not adversely impact our ability to purchase life insurance."
This is the first time the office has sought to suspend or revoke a life insurance company's license for violating the Freedom to Travel Act.
Source: Florida Office of Insurance Regulation
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