Citizens Property Insurance gets ‘disappointing’ transfer numbers


News Service of Florida

About one in six customers of Citizens Property Insurance Corp., fewer than anticipated, should receive letters next week telling them they are being shifted to private insurance carriers.

And the state-backed insurer won’t know until early December how many of those policyholders will want to go with the new companies or return to Citizens.

A total of 205,736 policies, including 31,005 coastal accounts, are being picked up by 10 private carriers, a little more than half the 390,897 approved for the latest Citizens depopulation effort by the Office of Insurance Regulation in August.

Citizens President Barry Gilway, who told legislators this week that the agency could fall below the 1 million policy mark early next year, was hoping more policies would have been shifted to the private market in this round of the ongoing takeout efforts.

“Today’s news was somewhat disappointing but we will still have an exceptional result if we meet those numbers,” Gilway said in a news release Friday.

Gilway told lawmakers this week that typically about 30 percent of policyholders reject the takeout offers.

The private companies collectively made 328,343 requests for policies, according to numbers released Friday, but many of the requests were for the same policies. A pre-set computer algorithm divided up the overlapping policies among the companies.

Citizens, with 1.23 million policies as of Aug. 31, is down from a bloated 1.5 million policies a little more than a year ago. With the depopulation movement championed by Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leaders, the company hasn’t been below the 1 million policy mark since the middle of 2006.

Gilway said private carriers have already started lining up for the next round of takeout requests in December, with up to 200,000 policies possibly being acquired in January and February.

For those people impacted in the current round, policyholders shifted to new companies should receive notices next week from one of the 10 approved companies, followed by “encouragement” letters from Citizens, telling them they will be shifted Nov. 5.

Those customers will have 30 days following their policies being acquired to decide if they want to stay or return to Citizens.

The insurance companies are: Florida Peninsula; Heritage Property & Casualty; Homeowners Choice; Southern Fidelity; Southern Oak; Tower Hill Preferred; Tower Hill Prime; Tower Hill Signature; United Property & Casualty; and Weston.

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