Make us your home page

Allstate banned in Florida — for 30 minutes

TALLAHASSEE — It could be the shortest suspension of a company in Florida regulatory history. Allstate Insurance Corp. was banned late Monday from selling any new insurance policies in the state.

For about 30 minutes.

In a bizarre twist even by Tallahassee standards, an appeals court denied Allstate's request for a new hearing about 4:30 p.m., and then withdrew the ruling a half-hour later, citing a "clerical error."

The court didn't say what that error was. The original ruling contained only three sentences, each denying a motion Allstate had filed seeking to have the court look at the case again.

A clerical error would imply one relatively minor mistake. But regulators wouldn't speculate.

If Allstate can't write new policies, its losses could mount quickly. Allstate is no longer writing new homeowner policies in Florida, but auto insurance is by far the company's biggest moneymaker. Last year, Allstate wrote an average of about $564,000 a month in new auto business in the state.

Allstate has been fighting the suspension since January, when Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty accused the company of not turning over documents key to a state investigation of the Illinois-based insurer. McCarty issued an order banning Allstate from writing new policies, but the company won a stay the next day.

McCarty wants to know whether Allstate colluded with rating agencies, hurricane modeling companies and trade associations to set homeowner rates. Regulators also want Allstate to explain why it needed a 42 percent rate increase last year, at a time when most other insurers were cutting rates.

Allstate insures 300,000 homes and 1.3-million cars in Florida. The company will still be allowed to renew policies, but unless the ban is lifted, its total tally of business is expected to shrink at least 10 percent a year.

After the first ruling was announced Monday, McCarty quickly called a news conference to praise the decision. He said Gov. Charlie Crist was "ecstatic" about the news, and that the ruling was a warning to other companies that choose to violate the law. McCarty also said Allstate had appealed the decision to the Florida Supreme Court, and that he was holding ongoing meetings with Allstate officials.

But as McCarty was finishing, Steve Parton, his general counsel leaned over and whispered to him. Something had just happened. The 1st District Court of Appeal had issued yet another order, one signifying the clerical error.

Allstate had slipped through the nets again.

"It's one of those things," McCarty said as the pens, microphones and cameras were stashed away.

Both sides say they expect to hear from the court again today.

Tom Zucco can be reached at or (727) 893-8247.

What's happening

Florida insurance regulators want to ban Allstate Insurance Corp. from writing any new business in the state for refusing to turn over certain documents.

What's next

If the 1st District Court of Appeal corrects its "clerical error'' and still denies Allstate's request for a rehearing, the insurance giant has already telegraphed an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court.

Allstate banned in Florida — for 30 minutes 04/21/08 [Last modified: Thursday, April 24, 2008 12:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park


    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood


    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa


    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county


    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.