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States Respond to PIA Call to Protect Returning U.S. Soldiers From Auto Insurance Rate Hikes, Coverage Denials

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2004 - State officials are responding to a call by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) making it clear that...
June 4, 2004

Statements Issued By Officials in Washington, Missouri, Iowa

WASHINGTON, June 4, 2004 - State officials are responding to a call by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) making it clear that no insurance company should deny auto coverage to U.S. Armed Forces personnel, or raise their rates, because their coverage lapsed while they were on active duty overseas.

Washington, Missouri and Iowa are the latest states to issue statements that say there should be no denials of auto insurance coverage or rate increases for soldiers returning from active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan based upon a lack of continuous coverage.

"PIA applauds insurance officials in Washington and Iowa, along with Missouri Governor Bob Holden, for going to bat for our Armed Services personnel who are serving us so well," said PIA National Executive Vice President and CEO Len Brevik. "We urge all other state officials to follow the lead of their colleagues who are acting quickly in support of our troops."

Brevik said advisories by all state Departments of Insurance should be issued recommending waivers of all underwriting standards on continuous coverage for returning service personnel and reinstatement of policies as if coverage were continuous.

The issue first came to light when insurance agents in North Dakota told Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman that some auto insurance companies are denying reinstatement, refusing to write policies, or raising premium rates for members of the Armed Forces who discontinued their auto insurance while deployed, because they could not demonstrate continuous insurance coverage.

Shortly after Poolman issued a bulletin saying such underwriting requirements "are inappropriate and should be waived" in the case of returning U.S. soldiers, PIA National issued an action alert on May 19 to all of its state and regional affiliates, urging them to aggressively press their state insurance regulators to issue similar bulletins.

"This is just the right thing to do," said PIA National Vice President Ray Peretti of Renton, Washington. "As professional insurance agents, we are accustomed to advocating for our customers. In this instance, we are proud to advocate for both our clients and our country." Peretti worked with the Washington insurance commissioner's office to secure issuance of their bulletin.

Brevik said PIA's campaign to obtain continuous coverage waivers for returning U.S. soldiers will continue.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses.

KPLU-FM Public Radio, Seattle (Audio interview with PIA's Ted Besesparis 6/7/04)

State of Connecticut Bulletin (6/8/04)

State of Washington Bulletin

Statement by Missouri Gov. Bob Holden

State of Iowa Bulletin

State of North Dakota Bulletin

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