Insurance is a business based on trust. If the public does not trust that you will pay claims promptly and for what is owed, your business will flounder. Fair value assessments and prompt payments aren’t just expected by policyholders – they are required by every State insurance code. How this is going to happen is rarely open for public debate. Until now. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is no longer an insurance company under Florida law. It acts like one, is subject to most of the insurance code, but it is the creation of the government and is the government….whatever that means.
The practical regualtory effect is that Citizens is subject to the Florida Public Records Act and supposedly is transparent regarding its rate making and claims settling practices. A very novel idea in the private insurance market where secrecy is the normal state of affairs. The Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, a non-insurance company, is being scrutinized for it claims practices from Hurricanes Charley through Wilma. It’s history is awful, but it claims to be reforming. Only time, and public participation in meetings convened by the Task Force on Citizens Property Insurance Claims Handling and Resolution, will tell.
Click here for my presentation on Policyholder Perspective of Citizen’s Claim Culture presented at the Task Force’s second meeting held today, June 4th, 2007. All that having been said, all this talk about transparency with Citizen’s begs the question of why public regulators do not require the same transparency of "for real" and "for profit" insurance companies. Simply, if the insurance industry is so honest and fair dealing, why should they be worried about having their claims culture exposed in the public forum as Citizens is doing?