State says four insurers can offer policies to Citizens customers

Oct 30, 2007

Palm Beach Post, 10/29/2007

State regulators on Monday gave four small insurers permission to make ‘take-out’ offers to 173,000 customers of Citizens Property Insurance beginning Nov. 7.

The offers will come as good news for homeowners, who might be able to lower their premiums by doing business with a company other than Citizens, the last-resort insurer whose rates by law are required to be the priciest in the state. There’s a risk, though, in that the carriers are susceptible to failure if Florida is hit by big storms.

Four insurers will take Citizens policies:

– Tampa-based American Integrity Insurance Co. of Florida can take on 75,000 policies over six months.

– Landmark One Insurance Co. of Miami can add 50,000 policies in the coming 18 months.

– First Home Insurance Co. of Jacksonville can assume 30,000 policies immediately. – Argus Fire & Casualty Co. of North Miami Beach can take on 18,000 policies over 18 months.

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty called the move ‘great news.’ ‘It is proof that the private insurance industry believes it can succeed and be profitable in Florida,’ McCarty said in a statement. ‘And consumers will be offered policies at rates that are at or below Citizens’ current rates.’