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A Florida court stayed an order on Friday from the state's insurance commissioner, clearing the way for Allstate Corp ALL.N to once again write new auto and other policies in the state.

Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarthy had suspended Allstate on Wednesday from writing new policies because it had not fully complied with a subpoena to testify about its property insurance business.

The 10-day stay by the Florida First District Court of Appeal allows Allstate's more than 1,100 Florida agents to continue doing business, the insurer said in a statement.

In addition to car insurance, Allstate provides home insurance in Florida through Allstate Floridian Insurance and Allstate Floridian Indemnity, two independent subsidiaries of the parent company.

Allstate officials had appeared before state regulators earlier this week to testify on proposed rate increases of up to 41 percent in Allstate's property insurance business.

But state officials called off the hearing when Allstate officials refused to answer questions and to provide specific documents.

State investigators have been trying to determine if Allstate and other companies colluded to prevent property insurance rates from dropping despite legislative action last year to reduce premiums.

The issue is a major one in Florida, which has been reeling from a deteriorating real estate market and huge increases in premiums after eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, when insurers paid out about $35 billion in claims.

The suspension mainly affected new auto policies, since Allstate had said previously it planned to reduce its homeowner policy exposure in Florida while increasing its 14 percent share of the state's auto insurance business.


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