PIA Calls on All State Departments to Protect Returning U.S. Soldiers from Rate Hikes, Coverage Denials

May 19, 2004

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) on Wednesday called on the commissioners of insurance in all 50 states to immediately make it clear that no insurance company should deny auto coverage to U.S. Armed Forces personnel, or raise their rates, because their coverage lapsed while they were on active duty overseas.

Insurance agents recently told North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman that some auto insurance companies are reportedly denying reinstatement, refusing to write policies, or raising premium rates for members of the Armed Forces who discontinued their auto insurance while deployed, because they could not demonstrate continuous insurance coverage. Poolman issued a bulletin saying such underwriting requirements “are inappropriate and should be waived” in the case of returning U.S. soldiers.

“Every insurance commissioner in every state should immediately issue a bulletin stating that there should be no denials of coverage or rate increases for our returning soldiers based upon a lack of continuous coverage,” said PIA National Executive Vice President and CEO Len Brevik. “Continuous coverage is important as an underwriting standard, but continuous service to the United States by our brave fighting men and women is more important.”

Brevik said advisories by all state Departments of Insurance should be retroactive to the start of the Iraq war, and an effort should be made to reverse all previous coverage denials based on a lack of continuous coverage for any reason, as well as to secure refunds to active duty service personnel of premium increases collected on the basis of lack of continuous coverage.

PIA National issued an action alert to all of its state and regional affiliates, urging them to aggressively press their state insurance regulators to make it clear to all insurance companies that write auto insurance in their states, that all underwriting standards on continuous coverage should be waived for all active duty Armed Forces personnel who serve overseas.

“The members of PIA are independent insurance agents who are there for their clients in times of need,” added Brevik. “PIA members consider it a privilege to act now on behalf of their military clients who have bravely done their duty to protect and defend the United States of America. It is an honor to do this, because it is the right thing to do.”

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