As many of you may have heard, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation recently and mercifully relieved interim President Tom Grady of his duties after a tumultuous two month stint, and hired a new leader – Barry Gilway.
Gilway comes to CPIC from Mattei Insurance Services, a Seattle-based commercial insurance carrier, where he served as CEO. Gilway was selected following a national search and boasts a resume that clearly impressed the CPIC board, who were positively glowing in statements following the hire:
Board member Don Glisson said all candidates brought experience in handling risk, but Gilway’s private sector resume, which included both building companies and shrinking them, was "unique."
"What struck me about Mr. Gilway was Mr. Gilway has gone through many instances where he probably had to pay significant consequences if he were to mishandle risk," Glisson said. "There is fundamental difference between handling risk in the public sector and handling risk in the public sector."
"For me, Barry’s experience in the industry on the private side brings an immeasurable contribution to our efforts to depopulate," said Citizens’ Chairman Carlos Lacasa said. "..To me, that was the single most important factor."
Though Gilway hasn’t had much time to delve too deeply into his vision for the future of Citizens, he has nonetheless given a few hints as to what specific actions he would recommend. Gilway said he supports the general concept of increasing Citizens’ rates on new policies above the statutory 10 percent premium cap now in place on existing policies, but acknowledged that raising rates to actuarially sound levels too rapidly would destroy the construction and real estate sectors of Florida’s economy.
Though his statement is altogether reassuring, it’s a much calmer, measured approach than the one we witnessed in the last two months under interim President Tom Grady. I remain hopeful that Mr. Gilway will work with consumer advocates to implement balanced, responsible policies and shun the political motivations that have threatened both policyholders and our delicate housing recovery.
I think I can speak for all Citizens policyholders when I say I wish Mr. Gilway the best of luck in his new position. Running the state’s largest insurer is no easy task – But it’s important to make certain that in the rush to depopulate Citizens, policyholders don’t get lost in the shuffle.
It’s time to sit down and finally have the adult conversation that Floridians deserve.