Few Florida agencies write more business each year than Morris & Reynolds with our state’s ‘insurer of last resort’, Citizens Property Casualty Insurance Corporation (Citizens). In the decades since Hurricane Andrew ‘visited’ South Florida’s shores Citizens has grown dramatically from what was intended to be the state’s last option for your coverage into the largest home insurer in the state along with being one of the most prominent writers of commercial wind and multi-peril coverage.

Morris & Reynolds offers dozens of private insurer options to using Citizens for both your personal and commercial insurance needs. And while we have a large number of options to using Citizens, there are times that the state insurer needs to be used. Understanding how this insurer and its coverage works, its assessment structure and other facts is important to understanding the windstorm market in Florida and your coverage options.

Should you have any questions about Citizens or want to consider alternatives to Citizens Morris & Reynolds would be pleased to assist you.

CITIZENS HISTORY

Citizens was not always Citizens.

The State of Florida established THE FLORIDA WINDSTORM UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION (FWUA) in 1970 to provide wind insurance in Monroe County, the Florida Keys chain of islands. Over time, the FWUA was expanded to include all or parts of 29 of Florida’s 35 coastal counties. The “tri-county” area of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach was added after Hurricane Andrew struck in 1992 in response to a market crisis where private insurers reduced the amount of windstorm they would offer. THE FLORIDA RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY AND CASUALTY JOINT UNDERWRITING ASSOCIATION (FRPCJUA or Homeowners JUA) was created in 1992 and structured similarly to the FWUA. In 1995, the FRPCJUA absorbed another property residual market, which insured commercial residential or condominium and apartment buildings, called the FPCJUA.

In August 2002, the Florida Legislature merged the FWUA with the FRPCJUA, creating “CITIZENS” to write three types of Florida risk:

  1. High Risk Account (HRA): Provides wind-only policies in limited coastal areas of the state (formerly known as the Wind Pool);
  2. Personal Lines Account (PLA): Provides multi-peril policies throughout Florida (formerly known as the FRPCJUA);
  3. Commercial Lines Account (CLA): Provides commercial residential policies throughout Florida (condo and apartment buildings).

CITIZENS ASSESSMENTS

Every policy Citizens writes is assessable.

Additionally, if Citizens suffers a deficit from its losses every policyholder in Florida, whether a Citizens customer or not, can be assessed for those deficits.

To understand the true, total, cost of a policy with Citizens it is wise to consider how its possible assessments will impact you and what they will cost. If Citizens funds are depleted after a catastrophic storm and a deficit in their ability to pay claims takes place then assessments are levied according to Florida law. The potential Citizens Assessments, in order of how they are allowed to be assessed, include the following:

1) POLICYHOLDER SURCHARGE

  • The Policyholder Surcharge is levied only on Citizens policyholders and is a one-time surcharge issued before any other surcharges are passed onto Florida policies.
  • This assessment can be up to 15% of premium for each of Citizens’ three (3) accounts. The assessment is levied for any account that has a deficit. That means that Citizens policyholders could be assessed a maximum of 45% of the policyholder’s premium if there is a deficit in all three of Citizens accounts.
    A. If the Citizens Policyholder Surcharge does not cure a deficit, additional assessments will be levied based on the account type; (A)
    Coastal Account – Regular Assessment and (B) Commercial Lines Account (CLA) or Personal Lines Account (PLA) – Emergency
    Assessment

2) REGULAR ASSESSMENT

  • Citizens second assessment is a broad assessment issued on a wide range of property and automobile insurers, and thus consumer, policies are assessed if a deficit remains.
  • If there is a deficit by Citizens on their Coastal Account, an assessment of up to 2% of premium or 2% of the deficit in the Coastal Account can be levied against assessable insurers and their policyholders. This assessment is a one-time assessment.
  • Citizens policyholders are not charged this assessment.
  • If the Citizens Policyholder Surcharge and the Regular Assessment do not cure the Coastal Account deficit, an Emergency Assessment will be levied.

3) EMERGENCY ASSESSMENT

  • The final possible Assessment from Citizens can assess a wide range of policyholders, including Citizens policyholders.
  • For each of the three Citizens accounts, this assessment may not be more than 10% of the policy premium or 10% of the remaining deficit, whichever is greater. That means that assessable policyholders could be assessed a maximum of 30% of assessable premium if there is a deficit in each of the three Citizens accounts. The Emergency Assessment can be spread over multiple years, which could reduce the burden on Florida policyholders.

 

Citizens Property Insurance Clearinghouse » Citizens Coverage Changes »
The state insurer of last resort, Citizens, has grown to become Florida’s largest home insurer, as well a common solution for dwelling fire policies used for rental
properties and a range of commercial policies for wind and multi-peril coverage.
Citizens, the State of Florida’s “insurer of last resort”, has recently announced many reductions or eliminations of coverages as it seeks ways to reduce its nearly 1.5 Million policies and the half trillion dollars in exposure it insures.
The Windstorm Solution » Citizens’ New Commercial Windstorm Insurer »
Florida is in the midst of a widnstorm crisis that impacts all consumers. After devatating losses in 2004 and 2005, hurricane (wind) insurance is increasingly neither affordable nor readily available. In one of the more creative attempts to reduce it’s exposures to loss, the State of Florida’s windstorm insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has agreed to renew thousands of commercial windstorm policies into a brand new insurer, Weston Insurance Company.
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