Citizens is urging policyholders to open their mail and read their emails coming from Citizens as an improving Florida property insurance market is renewing interest in Citizens’ Depopulation Program.
Under the program, many policyholders in the coming months will receive a letter from Citizens that contains an offer from one or more private insurance companies to assume coverage of their Citizens policy. Participating private insurance companies have been approved by the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR).
More than 99,000 Citizens policies were assumed by private companies in October, and the OIR has since approved additional assumptions for November and December. Offer letters for the November and December assumption periods have already been sent.
Citizens policyholders who sign up for myPolicy and elect to Go Paperless get immediate notifications on all depopulation activities when they access their myPolicy account. Citizens urges policyholders to talk to their insurance agent, who is in the best position to assist them in making a choice that best fits their needs.
New Eligibility Rules
Following legislative reforms approved in December 2022, personal and commercial residential policyholders receiving offers that are not more than 20% greater than their estimated Citizens renewal premium are not eligible to remain at Citizens.
Personal residential policyholders receiving offers that are more than 20% greater than their estimated Citizens renewal premium are eligible to remain at Citizens but must make a choice to do so. Policyholders who do not respond to the offer letter by the deadline will be placed with the private market insurance company making the least expensive offer.
Any change in premium takes effect when the policy is renewed at the end of its current 12-month term. Additional information on Citizens’ Depopulation Program can be found on Citizens' website.
Although premium pricing is an important consideration when seeking property insurance, it is important to note that private coverage at a higher premium might make sense. Citizens policyholders, for example, are subject to a premium surcharge of up to 15% (anticipated to be effective January 1, 2024) of their annual premium if Citizens exhausts its ability to pay claims following a major storm.
In addition, most Citizens Personal Lines residential policyholders will be required to obtain flood insurance as the new requirements will be phased in over the next four years. (See related article.) After January 1, 2027, all Personal Lines residential policyholders with wind coverage (except for condominium unit owner policies) will be required to have flood insurance, either through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer authorized to write flood insurance.
The Depopulation Program is a critical component of the efforts to return Citizens to its role as the state’s insurer of last resort. Now Florida’s largest property insurer with more than 1.4 million policies, Citizens expects depopulation efforts to stem the significant growth the company has experienced over the last few years.
Citizens is reaching out to make sure you are aware of private offers that may come your way. You can help by opening your mail and email to ensure you have the latest information. Additionally, you can always check with private insurance companies in your area to see if they may be able to meet the needs of insuring your property.