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Court to hear appeal in State Farm 'trade secret' dispute

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An appeals court has scheduled oral arguments in a dispute between insurance regulators and State Farm Florida about disclosing information related to the company's property-insurance policies.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal will hear arguments Jan. 19 in an appeal filed by the state Office of Insurance Regulation, according to a notice posted this week on an online docket.

Regulators are challenging a May ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge James Hankinson, who issued an injunction against the release of information about State Farm property-insurance policies.

State Farm argued that the information was a "trade secret" protected from public disclosure. Regulators have long collected the information and made it publicly available.

The dispute involves quarterly reports that property insurers file with the state providing information, broken down by county, about issues such as the number of policies in place at the end of each month, the total number of policies canceled, the total number of policies that are not renewed and the number of new policies written.