According to an article in the Tampa Bay Times this week, Citizens Insurance is celebrating a $2 billion drop in revenue from premiums over the last four years. While rejoicing may seem odd, Citizens has been on an aggressive 4-year campaign to reduce the number of their policies to less than 500,000, or about one-third of the nearly 1.5 million policies held just 4 years ago. They should reach that goal by the end of this year.
Citizens, a not-for-profit government corporation, was created in 2002 to provide insurance for Florida homeowners who could not obtain affordable homeowners insurance through the private market, and was intended to be an insurer of last resort. Instead, it became Florida’s largest insurance company especially after the historic 2004 hurricane season when four storms crisscrossed the state. In 2011, the Florida Legislature and Citizens felt it was necessary to reduce the amount of policies held by Citizens Insurance as the sheer volume of exposure could adversely affect all Florida homeowners if a catastrophic event were to take place.
Citizens Insurance Depopulation Program
Since then, Florida has been on an aggressive “depopulation” campaign. Companies that participate in the program assume Citizens’ policies and transfer them to the private insurance market. This process benefits all Floridians by preventing or reducing assessments charged to all property insurance consumers. As a result, Florida’s insurance market becomes healthier as private companies offer coverage for the state’s growing number of residents.
After an extensive review of financial stability, background investigations, operating and reinsurance plans, management experience and long-term market goals, Heritage Insurance was approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation to participate in the program. The renewal offered by Heritage Insurance is similar to the coverage afforded under the assumed Citizens’ policy. In many cases, Heritage’s policy coverage will be better than the coverage provided by Citizens upon renewal. Visit our FAQ section to see a chart of the similarities and differences.
If a Citizens policy holder wishes to accept renewal with Heritage Insurance, no action is required on their part. If they do not wish Heritage to assume their policy, they must complete and submit an opt-out form to Heritage by the deadline provided in the notice mailed to them. This deadline is approximately 30 days after receipt of the Citizens’ notice.
Once the Citizens Insurance policy expires, Heritage takes responsibility for servicing the policy, and handling claims when the date of loss occurs on or after the assumption date. You can contact the Heritage Claims Department at (855) 415-7120. Read more about Heritage Claims here.
An extensive Frequently Asked Questions page is available on our website to explain the Citizens depopulation program, and advise agents and policy holders on next steps should they receive a notice of assumption upon renewal.