Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Consumer Services Committee Reviews Social Media Efforts, Clearinghouse Outreach

Sep 10, 2014


Florida’s Citizens’ Property Insurance Corporation (“Citizens) Consumer Services Committee (“CSC”) met today, September 10, 2014, during which members reviewed Citizens’ social media use, along with its public outreach and education efforts.  The CSC also heard updates on Citizens’ Clearinghouse communications, Voice of the Customer (“VOC”) Program, foreign call center support and policy in relation to mobile homes. 

To view the meeting materials, click here.

Citizens’ Vice President of Communications, Legislative and External Affairs Christine Ashburn updated the CSC on the State-run insurer’s social media efforts, the first entry of which coincided with the start of the 2013 Hurricane Season.  Various Twitter accounts and a Facebook page were created to focus on hurricane preparedness and awareness.

In early 2014, Citizens expanded its social media efforts to include educational information, promotion of Weather Awareness Week, reference links and other audience-focused information.

It was explained that Citizens also has established processes to ensure proper handling of complaints received through social media with respect to response expectations and tracking.  To protect policyholder information and privacy, Citizens responds to negative commentary and complaints  via private messaging features on Twitter and Facebook. 

The number of followers on Citizens’ Twitter accounts have grown by over 140 percent over the past year.  The number of users on all of Citizens’ social media conduits has been slower than expected, which Citizens attributes to an initial over-estimation of agents’ use of social media. 

Ms. Ashburn also reviewed Citizens’ Public Outreach and Education program, which supports the overall communications effort to build Citizens into a go-to resource for educating elected officials, policyholders and the Florida public about its programs and initiatives. 

She reported that the Public Outreach and Education program reached over 6,100 stakeholders in 2013.  Included in those efforts has been information on regular legislative office hours, as well as constituent meetings held in conjunction with legislative district offices. These meetings have enabled Citizens’ staff members to meet directly with constituents to address any questions or concerns policyholders may have about their Citizens policy.

Citizens’ Vice President of Consumer and Agent Services Steve Bitar joined Ms. Ashburn in providing an update on Citizens’ Clearinghouse communications program, which was established to educate all audiences about the Clearinghouse mission, goals and benefits.  The program ensures agents and consumers have the information and training they need to understand how the Clearinghouse works and make educated decisions about the property insurance options it offers. 

Prior to launching the Clearinghouse, communications to agents focused on explaining the Clearinghouse process and providing necessary training to facilitate policyholder transition to the private market for those who are diverted from or leave Citizens through the Clearinghouse.  It was noted that all training materials, agent communications and policyholder notices are available to agents through the “Agents” portal on Citizens’ Web site. 

During the launch process, agents were also provided a high level overview of how the Clearinghouse would work so they could prepare their businesses for Citizens’ new policy writing and renewal requirements.  Prior to the recent launch of Clearinghouse renewals, Citizens’ Agent Services conducted in-person meetings with insurance agencies in South Florida and Tampa. 

For renewals, Citizens developed an automated process that delivers customers’ offers of coverage and premiums directly to their agents’ Clearinghouse computer accounts.  From there, the agent can review offers, confirm eligibility for coverage and bind the coverage with their customer’s private market company of choice.  Agents receive up to three automated daily emails that include a spreadsheet of their customers whose policies are ineligible to renew with Citizens.

An update on the VOC program was provided by Mr. Bitar and Citizens’ Director of Consumer Services Jeremy Pope.  The VOC program was created to help uncover business trends, discover the root cause of customer behavior and enable better customer service decision-making while preserving organizational performance. 

It was explained that the goal for Citizens is to routinely and proactively solicit feedback from both agents and policyholders, which is expected to enable Citizens to improve its operations and customer service.  During 2014-2015, the VOC program will implement a customer satisfaction phone survey to be used with all policyholder interactions through Citizens’ Customer Care Center.  The survey will take place immediately following the interaction and collect overall satisfaction scores on the specific transaction and/or interaction, as well as overall satisfaction with Citizens.  The VOC program will also implement a customer satisfaction survey intended to capture policyholders’ comprehensive claims experience.  The survey will be conducted once a claim is closed.

Mr. Pope also briefed the CSC on Citizens’ foreign language call center support.   Since Spanish-speakers represent approximately 1.92 percent of Citizens overall call volume, Citizens has 21 bilingual customer service representatives.  Citizens also has contracted with Language Line Services to provide access to translators for a variety of languages.   

An update on Citizens’ mobile home re-underwriting was provided by Ms. Ashburn.  The goal of the project is to ensure the coverage provided to mobile home owners is aligned with private market projects and meets policyholder needs.  Citizens views older mobile homes as a line of business that truly represents a market of last resort and will host a series of town hall-style meetings to receive feedback from stakeholders.


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