Citizens Property insurance coverage to expire
Those with wind-only policies at Citizens Property must reapply
By Tim Engstrom • firstname.lastname@example.org • May 21, 2009
Thousands of Citizens Property Insurance customers have been notified that their policies are being discontinued, but they remain eligible for coverage from the state-backed company.
The company is allowing more than 340,000 wind-only policies statewide to expire this year so that it can write new policies for the customers, Citizens spokesman John Kuczwanski said.
The notices state: "Your Citizens wind-only policy is being discontinued. You must reapply for new coverage."
The notices have no bearing on the customers’ ability to get coverage. Citizens is the state’s insurer of last resort for customers who can’t get coverage in the private market.
The move is necessary because wind-only policies were written using forms and systems that date back decades to the companies that preceded Citizens, Kuczwanski said.
The new policies will be written using the same systems Citizens uses for its other customers.
Customers first are being notified 180 days before their annual renewal date, then they can visit their insurance agent to get a new policy within 60 days of the expiration date.
"If people have questions, their first stop should be their insurance agent," Kuczwanski said.
John Pollock, president of Oswald Trippe and Co., an independent agency in Fort Myers, said he has talked to a few customers who were unsure of what the notices meant.
"It has been confusing to people," Pollock said. "They call us because they want to know why they are being canceled."
Pollock said every customer he has worked with has been able to get replacement coverage from Citizens.
More than 12,000 customers in Lee County will have to get new policies before the end of the year. About 3,000 customers in Lee already have completed the process.
If the customer’s policies don’t substantially change, such as in the value of the property or the amount of insurance, their premiums won’t change this year, Kuczwanski said.
The Florida Legislature approved a 10 percent increase in Citizens rates that take effect in 2010.