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Cat modelers agree to Fla. request for review


TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--Four catastrophe modeling firms and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation have agreed to release their hurricane loss models for review by the Florida House of Representatives.

The move came after Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, R-West Miami, requested that the firms and regulators turn over the materials, which may include proprietary information, by Thursday. The request was made in letters dated Jan. 9 sent to Boston-based AIR Worldwide; Raleigh, N.C.-based Applied Research Associates Inc.; Oakland, Calif.-based EQECAT Inc.; and Newark, Calif.-based Risk Management Solutions Inc.

A day before the modelers agreed to the request on Thursday, a spokesman for Rep. Rubio said that while the speaker hoped the firms would comply voluntarily, "the House reserves the right to subpoena them if they don't."

"There is a great deal of uncertainty about these models and whether they are being used to unjustifiably raise insurance rates," Rep. Rubio said in a statement issued after the firms agreed to his request. "I am pleased that all five organizations have agreed to work with us on making sure that Floridians are receiving a fair deal."

In his letter, Rep. Rubio said information that met Florida's definition of a trade secret "will be protected from public records requests."

The Florida Legislature is scheduled to begin a special session devoted to insurance issues on Jan. 16.