Vanguard Fire and Casualty Goes Bust

It doesn't happen often, but it does happen: a story reported by the Florida Times-Union says that Vanguard Fire and Casualty Company was ordered into liquidation, after government officials discovered that it didn't have sufficient reserves to pay claimants.

While not good news for clients of Vanguard, it's not completely bad news either. The Department of Finance in Florida has acted quickly to keep you continuously insured: if approved by a judge, two Florida insurers (Royal Palm Insurance Co. and Security First Insurance Co.) will be offering replacement coverage to those left in the lurch. If the judge agrees, the replacement coverage will be effective April 25, or upon expiration of the policyholder's Vanguard coverage, whichever happens first. Royal Palm and Security First are sister companies that are both financially stable, and have sufficient reserves to take on the new business from Vanguard.

Homeowners insurance is critical for the vast majority of us. If you have a mortgage, your lender will require that you maintain homeowners insurance so that both you and they are protected in the case of damage to your home. You need to be ready before disaster hits; it's too late after.

You might wonder where this leaves you if you have a claim. Well, it's generally to your benefit if the government forces an insurer into liquidation, if reserves get too low. In Florida, once an insurance company is in liquidation, the Department of Finance can start to pay claims from the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association. However, if your claim is in excess of $500,000, you won't see the full amount. Payout from the Association is capped at a half million.

If Vanguard was your insurer, and you have a question regarding your policy or coverage you'll have to contact Vanguard directly at (866) 830-6423. However, if you need to report a claim or are wondering about your existing claim, you should call the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association at (866) 928-4310.

If you've been caught up in this mess, and you want to pick your own insurer for homeowners coverage rather than defaulting to Royal Palm or Security First, why not check out a few of our sponsors? They'll be glad to help you out.

Monique L. Attinger
 

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