Look, we’ve all had those best-forgotten moments of inebriated indiscretions, not unlike the night the gang from Citizens Property Insurance headed over to Coyote Ugly in Tampa, perhaps to discuss, over too many cocktails, how to wring more money and misery out of their beleaguered policyholders.
So when the two management-level babes from Citizen’s human resources department, one of whom happened to be the assistant director, climbed atop the bar, discarded their bras and did a bit of dancing, one twirling her garment around overhead like a lariat, we could maybe shrug off their performance off as a rather novel attempt at HR morale boosting. (I’m firing off a note to the Herald’s own HR department, demanding, “What about our damn morale?”)
Hey. They could hardly help themselves. Investigators from the Citizen’s Office of Corporate Integrity, which looked into this incident and other improprieties at Florida’s infamous provider of catastrophic insurance, noted that Coyote Ugly harbored “…a boisterous drinking environment. Women are encouraged to dance on the bar, remove their bras, and in some instances, hang their bras from the rafters.”
And like I said, we’ve all had drunken moments we’d like to erase from history. The really nice thing about working for Citizens is that forgetting about scandalous instances of corporate misconduct appears to be official company policy.
In fact, a 73-page report by the investigators from its own Office of Corporate Integrity into the wild nights and opprobrious behavior and sexual harassment and lavish spending and cover-ups and expensive faux investigations and crazy big severance pays for disgraced employees was, indeed, forgotten by the big dogs at Citizens.
The damning report was reduced to a few innocuous pages. The original was secreted away and might have been consigned to oblivion had it not been unearthed by Herald reporter Toluse Olorunnipa. The four investigators from the Citizen’s office of corporate integrity, who compiled all that embarrassing stuff, were fired. And the office was eliminated. It was like magic. Poof. And all history of bad behavior just disappeared. Or would have, had not Toluse come nosing around.
His reporting comes at a less than propitious time for Citizens, which has enraged its hurricane policy holders by jacking up rates 10.8 percent and running a nitpicking “re-inspection” program that seemed to be a charade, just an excuse to tack on another $800 to homeowner premiums. Meanwhile, the company was tossing thousands of other policyholders over to private insurers and was loaning $350 million out of its reserve funds to those private outfits, at very sweet terms, so they would take even more of these troublesome customers off their hands.
And there was the unrestrained spending by Citizens executives uncovered by The Herald/Times last summer, the nights in the Ritz-Carlton and the $889 dinner for three execs and their wives that night in London. It turned out that when Citizens called itself our insurer of last resort, “resort” actually referred to that $633-a-night resort hotel in Bermuda.
The peasants, as Citizen bosses seem to regard their 1.4 million policy holders, were already in the mood to grab their pitchforks march on the Citizens execs, either at their headquarters or at Coyote Ugly, depending on whether or not the revolt happened to coincide with happy hour.