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Citizens Property Insurance, Florida's insurer of last resort, tops 850,000 policies

Tropical Storm  heading to USA.Elements of this image furnished
Mike Mareen
State leaders want Citizens taking on less hurricane risk. Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

As private insurers continue to drop customers and pass along rate hikes, the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has topped 850,000 policies, according to newly released numbers.

Citizens, which was created as an insurer of last resort, had 851,006 policies as of Thursday. It has seen explosive growth over the past two years as private insurers have faced financial troubles.

By comparison, Citizens had 453,911 policies on April 30, 2020, and 589,041 policies on April 30, 2021, numbers posted on the Citizens website show. Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway has said he expects to top 1 million policies by the end of 2022.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has called a special legislative session to start May 23 to address problems in the property-insurance industry.

State leaders have long sought to shift policies out of Citizens to the private market, at least in part because of financial risks if a major hurricane or multiple hurricanes hit Florida.