Over the course of 2016, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has made a series of announcements that could best be described as upbeat. For example, the state-run non-profit indicated early in the year that its catastrophe funds were carrying a balance of close to $17 billion in cash and bonds, such that it was “in the strongest financial position” since its inception back in 2002.
Similarly, Citizens declared this past summer that it reduced the number of polices from a record high of almost 1.5 million reached back in 2012 to less than 500,000 due to ongoing depopulation efforts, meaning the transfer of policies to the private insurance market.
It appears these depopulation efforts will be continuing in earnest for the remainder of 2016, as recent reports indicate that certain homeowners in the Florida Keys — Monroe County to be precise — are now receiving mailings from authorized “take-out companies” (i.e., private insurers) informing them that unless they take the necessary action, their windstorm and other peril-related policies will be assumed from Citizens.
Specifically, the mailings indicate that unless the recipients file an opt-out form by November 15, their polices will be automatically transferred from Citizens, which currently covers 33 percent of the property insurance market in Monroe County, its highest percentage of any county here in the Sunshine State.
As to whether homeowners would be better off going with one of the take-out companies certified by the state insurance office or staying with Citizens, experts indicate that there is really no definitive answer, as every case is different.
Instead, they urge anyone in this position to keep the following points in mind:
- Citizens is subject to an annual cap on rate increases, while private insurers are not.
- Private insurers may be able to offer more coverage and/or lower rates than Citizens.
- Once a policy transfer is complete, a person cannot come back to Citizens unless the policy premium they are paying increases to 15 percent above the average annual premium for Citizens.
What all of this underscores, they say, is that those in this situation should give serious consideration to speaking with their local agent who can help them assess risks.
Stay tuned for updates …
Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions or concerns related to denied or delayed claims under a homeowners’ or flood insurance policy.Share