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FLORIDA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER GALLAGHER SEEKS COURT'S PERMISSION TO LIQUIDATE BROKE SURPLUS LINES INSURER

 TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- State Insurance Commissioner and Treasurer Tom Gallagher has sought court approval to liquidate a South Florida surplus lines carrier, it was announced today.
 Leon Circuit Court Judge Charles McClure set a hearing date of Dec. 23, 1993, to decide whether the company, Usher Insurance Co., Limited, should be liquidated by the department.
 "Usher has delayed paying claims to its policyholders -- a sign of being insolvent -- and has even suggested that we are prohibiting the company from paying claims," Gallagher said. "That is absolutely incorrect. Our actions are intended to protect policyholders under these circumstances.
 "Usher is prohibited from writing any new, renewal or reinsurance business. The company is expected to continue to pay claims to policyholders."
 In the department's petition to the court, it states that Usher is insolvent by at least $1.5 million. Last year the company wrote insurance totaling $14.3 million in premiums.
 Usher, based in the British West Indies with offices in Boynton Beach, sells ocean marine, private passenger auto and other liability insurance primarily in Florida. Surplus lines carriers, also known as "non-admitted" insurers, provide insurance that is generally not available through traditional insurance companies. "Non-admitted" insurers are not subject to the same rate, coverage, or solvency requirements as traditional insurance companies.
 Policyholders insured by surplus lines companies are not covered by the state's guaranty fund.
 Consumers with questions should call the department toll-free at 800-342-2762, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 -0- 10/6/93
 /CONTACT: Karen Chandler, deputy press secretary, of Florida Department of Insurance, 904-922-3108, ext. 2840/


CO: Florida Department of Insurance; Usher Insurance Co., Limited ST: Florida IN: INS SU:

RK-AW -- FL007 -- 9461 10/06/93 16:24 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 6, 1993
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