Citizens Market Accountability Availability Committee Meeting Report: August 27

Sep 1, 2009

The Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens”) Market Accountability Advisory Committee (“Committee”) met on August 27, 2009.  To view the complete meeting agenda, click here.


Key Performance Indicators Update

Citizens’ Senior Vice President of Underwriting Paul Palumbo gave an update on key performance indicators.  As predicted, personal lines underwriting increased during the second quarter of 2009 as a result of Citizens’ wind-only personal residential policies being re-written for the Single Personal Lines (“SPL”) project.  The average time required to process new policies is expected to decrease in January 2010 with the conclusion of the SPL project. 

To view the key performance indicator comparison graphs, click here.  To view the combined month-end report for July 2009, click here.


Consumer Services Update

Steve Bitar, Citizens’ Director of Consumer Services, provided an update on the organization’s Consumer Services Department (“Department”), which has seen a recent increase in the number of customer complaints regarding policy cancellations or non-renewals as result of the SPL project.   

A large-scale policyholder communication campaign on the SPL project recently was concluded.  The Department also has contacted personal residential wind-only policyholders who have not yet secured alternate coverage. 

Future consumer service enhancements include the “Manage myPolicy” feature on Citizens’ Web site, which affords electronic payment, claims tracking and other policyholder self-service features.   Now semi-operational, the Manage myPolicy portal also provides a method for Citizens to offer subscription-based e-mail consumer updates.  Approximately 6,000 policyholders already have signed up for this service.  The Department plans to advertise the Manage myPolicy feature in December 2009, once the electronic payments mechanism is fully functional.

To view the Consumer Services Department update, click here.


Public Outreach and Education Update

Citizens’ Director of External and Legislative Affairs Christine Turner Ashburn updated the Committee on public outreach and education efforts.

During 2008, Citizens’ Public Outreach and Education Office (“Office”) was able to educate over 1,400 individuals through quarterly policyholder forums and other speaking engagements.  The number of people reached in this manner increased during the second quarter 2009.  In an effort to improve its outreach efforts even further, the Office has partnered with community Hurricane Preparedness Expos, agent organizations, realtors, condominium associations, mobile/manufactured home communities and Kiwanis Clubs.

To view the public outreach and education update, click here.


Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (“OPPAGA”) Update

Ms. Turner Ashburn updated the Committee on an OPPAGA public adjuster study mandate.  Under the provisions of House Bill 1495, OPPAGA must submit a report regarding public adjusters to state executive and legislative leadership by February 1, 2010.  The report must include a review of relevant Citizens claims and statistics involving public adjusters, public adjuster claims submission practices and applicable Florida laws and rules.

OPPAGA is currently reviewing preliminary data provided by Citizens.


State Farm Florida Property Insurance Market Withdrawal Update

According to Ms. Turner Ashburn, the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings will hold a final hearing on State Farm Florida’s proposed property insurance market withdrawal in October 2009.  The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is preparing for the hearing and Citizens will continue to monitor any developments.


Occupancy Eligibility Guidelines for Commercial Policies

Citizens’ Assistant Director of Product Development and Compliance Kim Chaney reported on occupancy eligibility guidelines for commercial policies. 

Under the guidelines, commercial buildings with over 25 percent transient occupancy (such as hotels and motels) are classified as non-residential and are ineligible for coverage.  Non-residential buildings are ineligible for Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (“FHCF”) coverage as well.  

It has been suggested that, because Citizens covers residential rental properties, it should consider underwriting commercial buildings with transient occupancy.  After discussion, the Committee concluded that Citizens’ coverage should not be expanded beyond that offered by the FHCF at this time.  Ms. Chaney stated that she will continue to monitor the issue.

To view Citizens’ commercial occupancy eligibility guidelines, click here.  To view a chart of Citizens’ residential rental property coverage, click here.


New Business

Committee member Greg Rokeh inquired about Citizens’ efforts to identify wind mitigation inspection errors.  Mr. Palumbo replied that a significant amount of work is being done to ensure that wind mitigation forms are completed by an appropriately-licensed and qualified inspector.  Citizens is in the beginning stages of a pilot program to verify that the information listed on the wind mitigation forms is correct.  Mr. Palumbo stated that it is unclear at this time if the proliferation of incorrect wind mitigation information is a significant systemic issue. 

Committee member Dave Newell inquired about the Florida Market Assistance Program (“FMAP”) and expressed concern about insurance agents using FMAP to generate unnecessary requests for insurance coverage in order to “churn” commercial residential policies.  According to Citizens Director of Agent Services Joe Bouthillier, there is no automated system in place to screen commercial residential coverage requests to identify those that  are already associated with an agent.  Mr. Bouthillier stated that he will continue to research the situation and report his findings to the Board of Governors during its October 2009 meeting.

The meeting was then adjourned.


Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.


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