Citizens Property Insurance drops under 500,000 policies
The state's insurance company of last resort has shrunk to levels it hasn't seen in more than a decade.
As expected, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation shed about 20,000 policies over the last month and now has just 484,788 policies, the lowest level since Citizens was created. The company in 2011 had nearly 1.5 million policies - making it the state's largest insurer.
Created in 2002 in a merger of the state's wind pool and former state-run property insurer known as the JUA, Citizens exploded in size as major insurers such as State Farm cut back covering what's viewed as the country's most hurricane-susceptible state.
Since 2011, state legislators have been aggressively trying to "depopulate" the state-run company as private insurers have returned to the state's market.
Citizens celebrated the drop under 500,000 policies as a sign that the private insurance market has been reinvigorated.
"This marks an important milestone and the culmination of efforts from all Citizens' stakeholders," said Chris Gardner, chairman of the Citizens Board of Governors. "Much of the credit needs to go to the private property insurance market, which under the watchful eye of the Office of Insurance Regulation has grown strong over the past several years. State leaders also need to take a bow."