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State-Backed Insurer Set to Top 500K Policies

Citizens Property Ins., Fla.’s “insurer of last resort,” is getting bigger due to private insurance firms’ “profitability problems,” says Citizens CEO Barry Gilway.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After years of a relatively stable number of policies, the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. expects to see an increase to more than 500,000 policies this year, according to a report President and CEO Barry Gilway presented to the Citizens Board of Governors on Wednesday.

Citizens is projected to have about 517,000 at the end of 2020 – the first time since 2015 that it has topped 500,000 policies, the report indicates.

Unlike private insurance companies, Citizens has operational backing from state regulators and Florida taxpayers. As a result, it has long focused on trying to move policies into the private insurance market with some success. Over the past four years, it has maintained a year-end policy count of between 427,392 and 455,843.

In earlier years, however, the state’s “insurer of last resort” topped more than 1 million policies. For example, Citizens had about 1.31 million policies in 2012.

To explain the increased number of policies in 2020, Gilway’s report points to issues in the private insurance industry. As an example, he cited “profitability problems” as a reason private insurers limit the amount of coverage they write. He also cited higher costs for reinsurance – essentially insurance for insurers – and litigation trends.

Source: News Service of Florida