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State News

Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Could Shrink To Levels Not Seen Since 2005 Storm Season

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Officials with state-run Citizens Property Insurance say they expect to hold fewer than a million policies by the end of the year. It’s part of a plan to again make the state the “insurer of last resort.”

Citizens CEO and President Barry Gilway says the company peaked at more than 1.5 million policies last year- a quarter of Florida’s property insurance market. Since then, the company has worked to shrink itself by steering commercial and residential customers into private companies. Gilway told his board Friday the company is expected to get down to 900,000 policies by the end of the year:

“That’s the first time since 2005 that we’ve been at that level. And frankly, the difference then in the entire makeup of Citizens in the past 14 months, is staggering.” 

Citizens’ so-called depopulation efforts have been criticized by some who say the companies absorbing those customers aren’t financially sound. Supporters say the effort is critical to fostering competition in the property insurance market, which saw an exodus of insurers after the 2004-05 hurricane season. A smaller Citizens also means customers are less at risk of the state failing to pay claims if a severe storm leads to a flood of claims.