July 27, 2003 — The V.I. 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 the Tutu Park Mall on St. Thomas.
As promised by Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards in a June 9 press release, these events began community-based forums which will be held throughout the summer to "address residents' insurance concerns."
Amid the hustle and bustle of throngs of Saturday shoppers, employees of the division gave out colorful balloons to youngsters, and T-shirts with the motto "Insure to be Secure" to the crowd. Consumer guide pamphlets on several different aspects of insurance coverage and hurricane awareness were available for shoppers.
The purpose of the division, according to their official 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 the 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 how to protect your home in case of a storm. Further information was given on homeowners insurance, such as the National Flood Insurance Program and property and casualty insurance. The "Consumers Guide to Homeowners Insurance" — a publication prepared and published by the V.I. 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, among other pertinent subjects.
The information in available to the public at the division offices at Nos. 7 and 8 King Street in Christiansted on St. Croix and at Nisky Center on St. Thomas.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30; the highest likelihood of storms is in September.

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