Another Auto Insurer Joins Coalition to Protect Florida's Drivers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance Company, an auto insurer that specializes in providing basic coverage policies to Florida drivers, has joined the Coalition to Protect Florida’s Drivers.

Ocean Harbor is the second auto insurer in recent weeks to join the Coalition, which is calling on Governor Charlie Crist, Senate President Ken Pruitt and House Speaker Marco Rubio to address the looming sunset of no-fault auto insurance in the special session which begins September 18.

Ocean Harbor, based in Sunrise, Florida is a non-standard auto insurer that provides basic Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage (PD) liability coverage policies to Florida drivers. Both PIP and PD coverage are currently mandated by state law, but PIP will no longer be required if state legislators fail to act and allow no-fault to expire on October 1.

“The loss of PIP will be extremely costly and inconvenient for Florida consumers,” said Jared Perlin of Ocean Harbor. “If PIP sunsets on October 1st, the number of drivers on the road without insurance will largely increase, thereby cramming emergency rooms after auto accidents. This will create an escalation in medical costs for all, and we cannot allow that to happen. We look forward to working with the Coalition to Protect Florida’s Drivers to urge the Legislature to do what’s right for all Floridians.”

Ocean Harbor is currently licensed to do business in five states and wrote in excess of $60 million in auto coverage in Florida during 2006. Ocean Harbor joins another non-standard auto insurer, Direct General Corporation, as a member of the Coalition.

“Ocean Harbor understands that basic, mandatory auto insurance coverage that protects both people and property is crucial for Florida motorists,” said Wayne NeSmith, President of the Florida Hospital Association, a leader of the Coalition. “Floridians should know that there are auto insurers, like Ocean Harbor, who believe that state legislators must address no-fault in the special session, and not simply allow it to expire.”

The Coalition to Protect Florida’s Drivers is lead by FHA and the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida. It includes 38 organizations including hospitals, emergency care providers, first responders, safety officials, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, and auto insurers. The Coalition is calling on the Governor and legislators to either reform and extend the current no- fault/PIP system, or to replace it with some other form of alternative mandatory medical and property coverage for motorists.

Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance Company

CONTACT: Rich Rasmussen of the Florida Hospital Association,+1-850-222-9800; or Jared Perlin of Ocean Harbor Casualty Insurance Company,+1-954-327-6433