Fla. Insurers Reportedly Should Expect Tough Enforcement of Credit Law

September 30, 2003

Insurance companies using credit-based insurance scores to underwrite and rate insurance coverage in Florida should reportedly be aware that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) will be taking a tough stance on the use of credit in the state.

“The OIR has indicated it will be strict about enforcing the credit scoring legislation passed this year,” James Taylor, southeastern regional manager for the National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII), said. “NAII is counseling its members to be aware of the law and closely adhere to its provisions when developing credit scoring parameters.”

The Florida legislature passed the credit scoring package, S.B. 40-A, and public records exemption, S.B. 42-A, during this year’s first special session. The bills require insurers to submit scoring models to the OIR for review prior to use.

“While the new law closely adheres to the credit model approved by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), the OIR will be taking a careful and critical look at any and all information related to credit use, including any adverse actions,” Taylor said.

The OIR will reportedly expect clear and specific reasons for adverse actions, and whether or not a poor credit score is related to a divorce, death of a spouse, job loss or major illness. Many insurers already make exceptions for these cases, Taylor noted.

The OIR is expected to release a preliminary draft of the rules sometime soon, but has announced it will schedule a rule development workshop on the issue before a formal filing.

“NAII welcomes the opportunity to work with the department in developing regulations that reflect the spirit of the new laws,” Taylor added.

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