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Pasco Press

Citizens Property policies drop below one million


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TALLAHASSEE — Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the government body that is still Florida’s largest insurer, announced Monday it has dropped below 1 million policies.

A new count shows Citizens with 942,321 policies in force. That’s down 36 percent from a high of almost 1.48 million in October 2012.

Citizens says this is the first time it has fewer than 1 million policies since August 2006.

“Recent takeout efforts, legislative initiatives and an improving private market have combined to push Citizens’ exposure to the lowest level in more than seven years,” the company said in a statement.

The drop in exposure suggests the company, originally set up as an insurer of last resort, will be better positioned to pay out claims if the next big storm hits.

By the end of last year, Citizens had about 212,000 personal residential policies in force in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, company records show.

The nonprofit company came about after millions of Floridians couldn’t get homeowner insurance following Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Gov. Rick Scott, among others, has pushed Citizens to decrease its customer count and reduce the value of homes it can insure. Citizens responded in part by creating a “clearinghouse,” a website available only to agents, who work with customers to “shop for comparable offers of coverage from participating private-market carriers.”

Claims exposure has dropped from $515 billion in November 2011 to $302 billion — a 41 percent decrease, the company said.

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