Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty has fined the state’s second-largest property insurer $1.26 million following a market conduct examination.

According to an order from the state Office of Insurance regulation, Universal Property & Casualty Insurance Company (UPCIC) has engaged in some questionable claims practices, hasn’t logged consumer complaints appropriately, and the insurer allegedly has not given policyholders proper notice of nonrenewal.

The insurer allegedly used consumers’ credit history to deny claims.

The OIR says more than 260 policies were canceled without the 100-day notice required by law.

The OIR’s examination spanned from the start of 2009 to May 2011.  

UPCIC, licensed since 1997, must submit reports, institute corrective actions and pay restitution, if appropriate.

The order is not final, meaning the insurer has an opportunity to request a hearing with an independent administrative law judge within 21 days.  

OIR says Florida-domestic UPCIC holds more than $765 million in written annual premium and over 542,000 policyholders.

In a joint statement, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott commended the OIR’s actions.

“For far too long, this company unjustly denied claims and forced consumers into financially devastating situations,” says Atwater.

“This is a win for the people of Florida,” Westcott adds. “This consent order will begin the process of giving Florida’s policyholders the confidence that when they purchase a homeowners insurance policy, they are truly protecting their home and family.”