Citizens’ mission is to provide coverage for those who cannot find coverage elsewhere. Since its creation in 2002, Citizens has seen its policy count fluctuate based on the ability of consumers to find coverage in the private market.
One of the tools the Florida Legislature created to help Citizens remain the insurer of last resort is Citizens’ Depopulation Program, which allows fiscally sound private insurance companies approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation to offer coverage to Citizens’ policyholders.
Historically, the depopulation program becomes more active as the property insurance market improves. As a result of recent legislative reforms that are improving the health of the Florida insurance market, Citizens expects private insurance companies to offer coverage to more Citizens’ policyholders.
Signs of a healthier market can already be seen. For example, a group of private insurance companies has requested to assume up to 184,000 Citizens policies in October. As the market continues to improve, you may receive offers in the coming months from private companies to become your insurance provider.
As a result of legislative changes made in December 2022, any policy for which a private insurer offers comparable coverage for a premium (price) that is not more than 20% greater than the estimated renewal premium of the existing Citizens policy will not be eligible for renewal. Citizens coverage will end at the expiration date of the policy currently in force.
What Do I Need to Do?
If the policy you are offered has a premium within 20% of the estimated Citizens renewal premium, your insurance coverage will automatically begin with the new insurer at the end of your current Citizens policy term. If you receive multiple offers that meet this criteria, then you will need to select the company that offers the best coverage to fit your needs. This will ensure uninterrupted continuation of coverage. However, if you prefer to find coverage from another insurance company, please contact your agent for assistance.
If the premium offered is more than 20% higher than the estimated Citizens renewal premium, you can choose to remain with Citizens. Do this by registering your choice online at Citizens' website or by contacting your Citizens agent.
Are My Rates Going to Go Up?
The short answer is not necessarily. While offers of not more than 20% or higher would make you ineligible for Citizens, recent history shows that premiums may not increase. In June of this year, thousands of Citizens customers who received takeout offers were actually quoted a lower premium than the existing Citizens premium.
While an important consideration, price is one of many factors to consider when securing coverage. Many private company policies, for example, provide more comprehensive coverage and avoid costly assessments. To learn more about the potential impact of assessments on Citizens’ policies, please visit the Assessments page on our website. Also, be sure to review the new flood rules that will eventually impact all Citizens policyholders.
As with all insurance decisions, talk to your insurance agent if you receive an offer. They are aware of the depopulation program and in the best position to help you find the best option.