July 27, 2003 — The Division of Banking and Insurance held the first in a series of "community forums" at Sunny Isle Shopping Center on Saturday. A similar forum was held simultaneously at Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas.
As promised by Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards in a June 9 press release, the community-based forums will be held throughout the summer to "address residents' insurance concerns."
Amid the hustle and bustle of throngs of Saturday shoppers, division employees gave out colorful balloons to youngsters and T-shirts with the motto "Insure to be Secure" to the older crowd. Consumer guide pamphlets on several aspects of insurance coverage and hurricane awareness were available for shoppers.
The purpose of the division, according to its Web site, is to regulate "the activities of insurance companies and insurance related businesses, banks, small loan companies and pawnbrokers." In addition, the division "issues licenses to insurance companies, insurance producers, adjusters, premium finance companies, air ambulance companies and small loan companies, and issues special licenses to all banks operating in the territory. The division also monitors and regulates their activities to ensure compliance with the laws of the territory once they become licensed."
Saturday's event provided community education through literature covering such topics as often-used insurance terms and a review of compulsory auto liability insurance laws, including the minimum coverage required and a list of violation points which may increase insurance rates.
Other pamphlets dealt with hurricane awareness and protecting one's home in case of a storm. Further information was given on homeowners insurance, including the National Flood Insurance Program and property and casualty insurance. The "Consumers Guide to Homeowners Insurance" — a publication prepared and published by the Lieutenant Governor's Office — covered such topics as the cost of such insurance, what coverage is available, the federal government's role in disaster assistance, and the difference between replacement value and actual value.
The information in available to the public at the division offices at Nisky Center on St. Thomas and at 7 and 8 King Street in Christiansted on St. Croix.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30; the highest likelihood of storms is in September.

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