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Allstate gets at least another week

This much we know. Allstate Corp. can keep writing new insurance policies in Florida at least until next Tuesday.

Whether the nation's largest publicly traded insurer can continue, and for how long, depends on the 15-member 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee.

On Monday, the court initially denied Allstate's request for a new hearing, paving the way for state regulators to ban the company from selling any new policies in the state.

Insurance commissioner Kevin McCarty did just that. But half an hour later, the court withdrew the ruling, blaming the move on a clerical error.

Tuesday morning, the court issued a rare press release, explaining why the ruling was yanked back.

"The order was withdrawn," the press release stated, "in order to give the entire court its full time authorized by court rules to consider the motion for rehearing that was prematurely cut off by the erroneously issued order."

Legal experts say one of more judges may have disagreed with the ruling or wanted more time to consider the motion. Another possibility is that all the judges agreed with the ruling, but the court realized it has to wait 10 business days before it issues the ruling, and Monday's ruling came too soon.

Allstate, which could lose as much as $500,000 a month in new auto business alone, had already appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. That appeal has since been withdrawn while the company and its 1,100 agents await a final ruling from the appeals court.

State regulators are trying to force Allstate to turn over documents it says are crucial to an investigation into the company's rate-making policies.

Allstate, which insures about 300,000 home and about 1.3-million cars in Florida, says it is complying with state requests.

Allstate gets at least another week 04/22/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 11:02am]
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