Florida’s Argus to Cancel All Home Policies Within 45 Days

June 10, 2011

Some 9,000 Florida homeowners will have to seek coverage elsewhere after Argus Fire & Casualty Insurance agreed to cancel its policyholders after being taken over by the state.

Argus Fire, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Miami-based United Automobile Insurance Co., announced to policyholders that it would cancel all policies within 45 days and process and issue refund checks within the next 15 days for any unearned premiums. Argus had initially planned to drop the policies as they came up for renewal.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, however, said the company’s lack of reinsurance made it too much of a risk to keep operating. Based on its most recent quarterly financial statement, the insurer showed it had only $554,000 in claims-paying reserves beyond the required $4 million. In May, an outside auditor reported that the company had underestimated its claims-related losses.

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