NEW YORK, February 8, 2000 — Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) announced today that the Florida Department of Insurance will use ISO's Geographic Underwriting System (GUS®) software to verify that insurers are determining the correct premium tax jurisdiction.
Florida statutes specifically require insurers to have an accurate means of identifying fire district and municipal boundary information for the proper determination of local premium taxes.
Since premium tax rates are broken down into two types throughout many of the state's municipalities and fire districts — casualty insurance premiums are taxed to support the police pension fund and property insurance premiums are taxed to support the firefighters' pension fund — and are determined by location within a taxing jurisdiction, the Florida Department of Insurance determined that a geographic coding system was needed to verify premium tax assignments. Sorting by ZIP Codes is inadequate since some ZIP Codes encompass more than one municipality or could apply to multiple fire districts.
"After reviewing and testing various software products for the purpose of properly identifying fire district and municipality codes, the department selected Insurance Services Office's GUS for use during the year 2000," said Cheryl Patrenos, Field Insurance Regional Administrator with the Florida Department of Insurance.
The Department of Insurance will review address records from selected insurance companies required to report under Chapters 175 and 185, Florida Statutes, and run them through GUS. The sophisticated geocoding technology used by ISO's GUS product will pinpoint the policyholder's correct municipality or fire district to verify proper tax assignment. In those cases where the insurer has not determined the proper premium tax jurisdiction, the company may be subject to market conduct sanctions by the Department of Insurance.
"GUS will help the Florida Department of Insurance automate a labor-intensive, time-consuming process," said Patrick McLaughlin, ISO's senior vice president for risk decision services.
Florida's premium tax law applies to most commercial and personal auto and homeowners insurance policies written in certain municipalities and fire districts.
Like regulators, insurers also can use ISO's premium tax service, based on GUS technology, to quickly and accurately define the correct tax jurisdictions and all necessary tax data for risks written in either Florida or Kentucky.
GUS provides ISO customers with access to reliable, current, and address-specific information on a variety of rating and underwriting variables including, Public Protection Classification codes for each fire district in the country (based on ISO's evaluation of the district's fire-suppression capabilities), distance to ocean and other major bodies of water, windstorm exposure, California brush-fire hazard locations, home-to-work drive distances, crime, and personal and commercial auto rating territories.