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

Our blog recently spent some time discussing Citizens Property Insurance Corporation’s Depopulation program, a longstanding initiative designed to move policyholders over to the private market in a bid to reduce the state-run insurer’s risk exposure.

As we discussed last time, this has been accomplished via takeout offers, meaning offers by private insurers to assume Citizen Property policies. Indeed, these takeout offers have resulted in nearly one million policies changing hands over the last three years.

While the Citizens Property website indicates that those who receive takeout offers should be grateful, as they now have more options outside of government-created insurance, there are property owners who do not share this sentiment.

Reports indicate that many Citizens Property policyholders have been complaining about receiving an excessive number of takeout offers, takeout offers that were misleading or significant rate increases in the years after their polices were assumed by their new insurers.

Fortunately, at least some help is on the horizon for these takeout customers thanks to a recent bill signed by Governor Rick Scott that was introduced by state lawmakers in response to these grievances.

The new law mandates that Citizens Property must provide written notice to policyholders of any requests by private insurers to assume their policies and, more significantly, provide side-by-side comparisons of everything from the coverage descriptions to the estimated premiums in order to give customers as much information as possible.  

Curiously absent from the legislation, however, is a provision capping the possible rate increases by these private insurers to 10 percent per year — a limitation already in place for Citizens Property — or allowing policyholder  to come back to Citizens Property if their premiums increase by more than 10 percent.

This likely has something to do with the fact that Governor Scott vetoed a bill with similar language last year, arguing that it would defeat the purpose of the Depopulation program.   

Here’s hoping that the new law does provide some measure of assistance to people across the Sunshine State.

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions or concerns regarding any insurance law matter.