Florida’s head auditor is launching a probe of Citizens Property Insurance… the state-created insurer of last resort. The inquiry follows last summer's 4 hurricanes – which left the company in debt—with thousands of dissatisfied customers. The audit will look at the company's practice of contracting with private insurers and how it handles claims. Citizens more complaints after last years’ storms than any other insurer. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer – Tom Gallagher – says the company has about 900-thousand policyholders… far more than ever intended. Many of those are wind policies… held by homeowners who need… but can’t get… such a policy through other companies. But Gallagher says that might change. The CFO says the legislature is considering a change that would force other companies to offer wind policies. He believes it would greatly simplify the post-storm process…
“Then we don’t have 2 and in some cases 3 separate adjusters all going to the same house and everybody’s confused. You take someone like my mother, she wouldn’t have a clue what to do with 3 adjusters. And then what does happen is, the wind and the flood guy comes in…and when you total up the damage…you have $100,000 in damage, but they only give you 60…then what are you supposed to do?”
CFO Gallagher says Citizens is short about $540 million after last year's hurricanes…that cost will trickle down to every policy holder in the state…whether they’re insured through Citizens or not. He says there IS good news. Five new companies are applying to operate in Florida – hopefully taking some of the burden away from Citizens.
Monday, 18 April 2005 01:00