PIA Notes Strong State Response to Call to Protect Coverage of Returning Soldiers

June 7, 2004

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents said that State officials are responding to its call to protect returning soldiers’ insurance coverage.

In May the PIA issued a declaration making 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 (See IJ Website May 19).

“Washington, Missouri and Iowa are the latest states to issue statements that say there should be no denials of auto insurance coverage or rate increases for soldiers returning from active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan based upon a lack of continuous coverage,” said the PIA bulletin.

“PIA applauds insurance officials in Washington and Iowa, along with Missouri Governor Bob Holden, for going to bat for our Armed Services personnel who are serving us so well,” stated PIA National Executive Vice President and CEO Len Brevik. “We urge all other state officials to follow the lead of their colleagues who are acting quickly in support of our troops.”

Brevik said advisories by all state Departments of Insurance should be issued recommending waivers of all underwriting standards on continuous coverage for returning service personnel and reinstatement of policies as if coverage were continuous. He also promised that the PIA’s campaign to obtain continuous coverage waivers for returning U.S. soldiers will continue.

The announcement noted that the issue “first came to light when insurance agents in North Dakota told Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman that some auto insurance companies are 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. Shortly after Poolman issued a bulletin saying such underwriting requirements ‘are inappropriate and should be waived’ in the case of returning U.S. soldiers.”

“This is just the right thing to do,” stated PIA National Vice President Ray Peretti of Renton, Washington. “As professional insurance agents, we are accustomed to advocating for our customers. In this instance, we are proud to advocate for both our clients and our country.” Peretti worked with the Washington insurance commissioner’s office to secure issuance of their bulletin.

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