Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

If you happen to be at or near the Florida Senate Office Building at the State Capitol Building this morning, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FOIR) is conducting a public hearing in Room 401 at 9:00 AM to discuss Citizens’ proposed 2016 rate changes. Whether the rate increases or decrease, the proposed changes would have a direct impact on premiums paid by those insured under a Citizens commercial property, homeowners, or mobile home policy. This is a unique opportunity to not only listen to what State officials and Citizens spokespeople have to say about the state-wide proposed rate changes, which would become effective on February 1, 2016, but also a chance for those who would be affected to share their own thoughts and any concerns.

Continue Reading Have Something to Say About Citizens’ Proposed 2016 Rate Changes for Commercial Property and Homeowners Policies? Here’s Your Chance

A little over seven months have passed since the Supreme Court of Florida heard oral arguments from the attorneys for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation and Perdido Condominium Association. For those readers who are not familiar with what lead to the issue coming before the state’s supreme court, the case stems from a decision by Florida’s First District Court of Appeal in Perdido Sun Condominium Association v. Citizens Property Insurance Corporation,1  where the appellate court held that the “willful tort” statutory exception to Citizens’ immunity applied to statutory first-party bad faith claims. In the opinion, the First DCA also certified the following question to be "of great public importance":

Whether the immunity of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, as provided in Section 627.351(6)(s), Florida Statutes, shields the corporation from suit under the cause of action created by Section 624.155(1)(b), Florida Statutes[,] for not attempting in good faith to settle claims?

Continue Reading Bad Faith and Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

Hurricane season just ended in Florida without any significant storm landing on our shores. As noted in Slow hurricane season could spell relief for Citizens Property Insurance policyholders,11 the 9-year break from storms should have stabilized the property insurance market and led to reduced premiums for policyholders. Unfortunately, the reality is a bit different. The article is correct in pointing out that Citizens Property Insurance Company has been able to reduce its exposure by transitioning its policies into the private market. However, this effort by Citizens to shed policies is a result of recent and concerted efforts by the legislature and Citizens to address the number of policies in its portfolio. In fact, Citizens reached a peak of 1.5 million policyholders in August of 2012. Thus, I believe the Citizens’ declining policy count is more a result of recent legislation and efforts as opposed to the 9-year break from storms. It should also be noted that there is significant debate about whether Citizens should be transitioning its policies to “take out” companies with unproven financial and customer service track records. We can talk more about that debate in another blog.

Continue Reading Despite Ninth Year Without a Major Storm, Floridians Have Not Seen Rate Reductions

Another 182,000 insurance policies have been approved by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (“OIR”) to be transferred to private insurers, (commonly referred to as “takeout” companies), in 2015 as part of the state’s ongoing effort to reduce the number of policies handled by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. While it is unlikely that all will be assumed from Citizens, (according to the OIR, about 127,550 of the 1.1 million policies approved last year were transferred), the effect of the mass assumption on Florida policyholders should not be overlooked.

Continue Reading Regulators Approve Even More Takeouts from Citizens Property – Including 50,000 to Newly Licensed Anchor Property & Casualty

If you’re an insured with a commercial residential policy issued by Citizens Property Insurance, or if you’re assisting an insured with a claim under one of these policies, it is important to know the answer to the question above. Why? It will make a big difference in terms of which insurance carrier a loss should be report to

Continue Reading Heritage Insurance Taking Over More Than Two-Thousand Commercial Residential Policies From Citizens – Is Your Policy One of Them?

One of the many questions faced by the Florida Supreme Court is whether the lawmakers who drafted the statutory scheme which created Citizens Property Insurance Corporation intended to grant the insurance carrier immunity from liability for bad faith causes of actions. Not surprisingly, the issue came up during oral argument last week when Perdido Sun Condominium Association’s counsel noted,

It is clear to me, from a full reading of the Citizens Statute that the Legislature was out to help the individuals. And they make it clear that they don’t want those individual insureds of Citizens to be in any worst situation than a private insured.

Continue Reading Will Legislative Intent Play Crucial Role in Florida Supreme Court’s Decision Regarding Citizens Bad Faith Immunity?

Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court agreed to review a First District Court of Appeal order which held that "Citizens’ immunity does not extend to the ‘willful tort’ of failing to attempt in good faith to settle claims as provided by section 624.155, Florida Statutes."1 On Tuesday, October 7th, both Citizens and the insured, Perdido Sun Condominium Association, presented their respective arguments to the Court on what may be one of the most important issues faced in first-party property claim arena: whether Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is immune from suit under the cause of action created by Section 624.155(1)(B), Florida Statutes, for not attempting in good faith to settle claims.

Continue Reading Florida Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Citizens’ Claim of “Sovereign Immunity” in First-Party Bad Faith Actions

Almost two months ago I wrote a blog about the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s announcement it was issuing orders for insurance companies to end a 1.3 percent “emergency assessment” for the state-run Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, which provides backup coverage to insurers.1

Continue Reading Citizens Property Insurance Approves July 1, 2015 End to Surcharge

In my last blog post, I discussed how the Florida House of Representatives were preparing to vote on House Bill 129 – or the “Citizens Sinkhole Repair Bill.” As predicted, a final vote took place on April 11, 2014. The result? The Citizens Sinkhole Repair Bill cleared the House by an 85-25 vote.

Continue Reading Citizens Sinkhole Repair Bill Approved by Florida House Members