Citizens Property Insurance adds policies before the storm season

Hurricane Idalia storm surge Gulfport Florida wmnf
Street flooding in Gulfport, Florida from Hurricane Idalia storm surge. By Seán Kinane/WMNF News (30 Aug. 2023)

©2024 The News Service of Florida

The state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. added nearly 5,000 policies last week, before the annual hurricane season started Saturday.

Citizens had 1,193,484 policies on Friday, up from 1,188,557 policies a week earlier but down from 1,201,536 policies two weeks earlier, according to data posted on the Citizens website.

The drop during the week that ended May 24 came as three private insurers were able to assume Citizens policies through what is known as a “depopulation” program.

Under the depopulation program, private insurers receive approval from state regulators to take batches of Citizens policies.

Citizens, which was created as an insurer of last resort, has become the state’s largest carrier in recent years as private companies dropped policies and raised rates because of financial problems.

Citizens reached as many as 1.412 million policies in fall 2023 before seeing reductions because of the depopulation program.

State leaders have long sought to reduce the size of Citizens, at least in part, because of financial risks if Florida gets hit by a major hurricane or multiple hurricanes.

But policy takeouts are not expected in the coming months as insurers stay away from additional risks during the six-month hurricane season.

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