TALLAHASSEE - It could be the shortest suspension in Florida regulatory history. Allstate Insurance Corp. was banned late Monday from selling any new insurance policies in the state.
For all of 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.''
What that error was the court didn't say. Monday's earlier ruling in which the error occurred was only three sentences long, and each sentence denied a motion Allstate had filed seeking to have court look at the case again.
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.
Florida regulators want to know about Allstate's relationships with rating agencies, hurricane modeling companies and trade associations. Allstate insures about 300,000 homes and about 1.3 million cars in Florida. The company will still be allowed to renew policies.
After the initial ruling rejecting Allstate was announced Monday, McCarty called a news conference to praise the decision. But as he was finishing, his general counsel whispered to him that the court had issued yet another order.
Allstate, the insurance company with nine lives, was back thanks to a clerical error.
Both sides expect to hear from the court again today.