What’s the real story on Citizens Property’s Depopulation program? – II

In our last post, we examined how Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the nonprofit government entity created back in 2002 to provide insurance to property owners unable to secure coverage via the private market, is actually required by state law to create programs designed to someday return these policies to the private market.

To that end, we began discussing how Citizens Property has started something known as the Depopulation program, which is essentially an initiative in which policyholders are identified for what is known as a “takeout” by a private insurance company.

A takeout is essentially an offer by a private insurer, who has been vetted by the Office of Insurance Regulation, to assume a property insurance policy issued by Citizens Property.

In general, the process works as follows:

  • The property owner covered by Citizens Property is mailed a letter from the private insurer informing them of the takeout offer.
  • If the property owner decides to reject the takeout offer, they have 30 days to return the op-out form included with the takeout offer.
  • If the property owner decides to accept the takeout offer, they don’t have to do anything, as the policy transfer will take place automatically.
  • If the property owner fails to take any action in 30 days, the policy transfer will take place automatically, even if this is not the action they wanted.

Once the policy takeover is complete, Citizens Property will mail the policyholder what is known as the Notice of Assumption and Non Renewal, and the Certificate of Assumption.

It’s important to note that the law gives policyholders 30 extra days to opt out of the policy assumption and re-secure their same coverage via Citizens Property.   

Another important issue to note, however, is that Citizens Property makes a point of informing people who elect to stay that they could face significantly higher assessments in the event of a weather-related catastrophe.

Furthermore, it outlines how once policies are up for renewal, state law requires them to be submitted to something known as the Property Insurance Clearinghouse, where it will be determined whether comparable private market coverage is available (i.e., premiums that are equal to or less than Citizens Property’s premiums). If it is, the policies will not be renewed regardless of whether takeout offers were previously rejected.

In our next post, we’ll discuss how Governor Rick Scott recently signed legislation designed to improve transparency within Citizen Property’s Depopulation program.    

Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have sustained property damage and have concerns about possible bad faith insurance claim.