Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Board Gets Hurricane Irma Update; Welcomes New Board Members

Dec 13, 2017

Kicking off an extensive agenda, today, December 13, 2017, Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s (“Citizens”) President and CEO Barry Gilway reported that the State-run insurer ” . . . emerged from the 2017 hurricane season financially sound and continues to assist policyholders recovering from Hurricane Irma.”

To view Mr. Gilway’s report, click here.

While nearly 80 percent of 63,600 Irma claims have been closed, Citizens continues to work with policyholders whose claims remain open or whose closed claims need to be adjusted further, it was reported.

Looking ahead, Mr. Gilway said that Citizens will continue to face rising water-loss claims, assignment of benefit abuse and litigation.  Further, Citizens is preparing for the return of more than 60,000 policyholders from private insurance companies facing similar market conditions that, barring legislative action, could force rates higher for years to come.

“Citizens remains fiscally sound after quickly and effectively responding to Hurricane Irma,” said Citizens’ Board of Governors (“Board”) Chairman Chris Gardner said.  “Following the storm, we maintain $6.4 billion in surplus and substantial reinsurance coverage that will be there the next time our customers need us.”

At the meeting today, the Board approved Citizens’ 2018 Operating Budget and amended timetables for policy changes effective next year that will address non-weather-related water losses and assignment of benefit issues.

The policy changes include the creation of $10,000 limit on non-weather related water-loss claims unless repairs are completed by contractors participating in Citizens’ managed repair program.

Originally scheduled to take effect on February 1, 2018, the sublimit will go into effect for new and renewal policies beginning May 1, to coincide with the implementation of Citizens 2018 rates.

Also rescheduled for May 1, 2018, are requirements that contractors and other third parties adhere to the same disclosure responsibilities as policyholders when they accept an assignment of benefit.

“We are doing what we can to address the critical issues of water losses, assignment of benefit abuse and litigation,” Mr. Gilway said.  “To fully address the issue, we will need statutory changes, including revisions to Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute.” 

The Board also approved Citizens’ 2017 Risk Transfer Program.  To view the presentation, click here.

To view the complete materials package from today’s Board meeting, click here.

New and Returning Citizens Board Members

Citizens also welcomed new board members who filled vacancies today:

John McKay, president of The Riverside Real Estate Co, served in the Florida Senate from 1990 to 2002, and as Senate President from 2000 to 2002.  Mr. McKay, a Bradenton resident, was appointed by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.  He succeeds Juan Cocuy.

Blake Capps is a founding partner at Capps and Huff Roofing, Inc. (now Capps Roofing, Inc.).  A graduate of the University of Florida and Mercer University Law School, Mr. Capps, who is from Hobe Sound, was appointed by Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart.  He replaces Jim Henderson.

John Wortman, a resident of Ponte Vedra, returns to Citizens’ Board, which he previously served from 2011 to 2016. The former CEO of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance from 2007 to 2010, Mr. Wortman was appointed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz.  He replaces Don Glisson.

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