March 20, 2008 / 2:01 AM / 11 years ago

Florida Seeks to Suspend American General License

MIAMI (Reuters) - Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation said on Wednesday it was trying to suspend the license of American General Life Insurance because it had violated the right of life-insurance policy holders to travel.

In what the office called the most high-profile incident of unfair trade practices, American General, part of American International Group Inc (AIG.N), had rebuffed an application by a U.S. congresswoman, Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, to increase her life insurance in 2005.

“She had indicated on her application that she had future plans for international travel. While Wasserman Schultz did not address specifics in the application, American General later called and spoke with her husband who indicated that there was a possibility that she may plan future travel to Israel,” the office said in a statement.

Florida General Counsel Steve Parton said the office did not take lightly the decision to seek to suspend the company’s license through an administrative complaint.

“The office has warned American General in the past but they have refused to change their practices,” he said.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said it was the first time his office had sought to revoke an insurance license for a violation of the Freedom to Travel Act.

“We have just received the complaint filed by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. We take it seriously and are giving it immediate attention,” AIG said.

“We have put in place policies, procedures and controls to ensure compliance with this and other applicable regulations, and we are continually looking for ways to enhance those measures,” AIG said.

AIG said it would “cooperate fully” with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to ensure it may continue to offer insurance in Florida. AIG said it was its intention to comply with the Florida Freedom to Travel Act.

Reporting by Michael Christie, additional reporting by Jessica Hall; Editing by Mark Porter

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