Sunday, February 18, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Feeling jilted by Citizens

There are times when the Sunflower of Saks and I feel so self-absorbed, so self-centered, so utterly selfish. We should be ashamed of ourselves. And we are.

After all, what right do we mere serfs of Tallahassee have to blithely go through our days going to the office, coming home, having dinner, watching television, cruelly oblivious that our much beloved Citizens Property Insurance is counting on a divorce?

But then it hits us. Another letter. And then another. We have become an irritant to Citizens. We have had the audacity to think simply because no one else wanted to insure our humble home and we were forced into the arms of the state-run insurer that love would be a two-way street.

We were naive to believe that once we paid our tribute it was the job of our insurance company to provide protection should our house fall down. We were wrong.

Of course it is the job of all insurance companies to take our money and then tell us we are unworthy of any compensation because our house fell down for the wrong reason. This only makes sense. Otherwise how can anyone legitimately expect insurance companies to make any money?

But no, for Citizens, there is another thuggish mission: to abandon its customers. To browbeat them into moving to other companies with all the financial stability of Detroit.

Consequently, for the past year we have received repeated notices from the Citizens castoffs informing us our lucky day has arrived, our property insurance ship has come in, our time in the sun has dawned!

We have declined to throw our lot in with the likes of Murray's Taco Bus and Property Insurance-on-a-Stick, Crazy Larry's Aluminum Siding and Insurance, Mons Venus Brass Poles and Casualty Insurance, or Skippy's Frozen Yogurt and Insurance or Whatever.

We have become convinced that somewhere in those vast caverns of Citizens there is a sub-bureaucracy of paper pushers whose sole function is to concoct new and improved programs to make the lives of current policy holders a living, relentless, death march of property insurance waterboarding.

Recently Citizens announced plans to exorcise another 400,000 customers from its books. It is only a matter of time before a whole new wave of requests to switch our homeowners policy to a company with all the fiduciary steadiness of J. Wellington Wimpy will arrive in the mail.

We are bracing to carefully examine each nondescript piece of mail proclaiming our good fortune to have our policy transferred from Citizens to perhaps Fat Joey's Barbecue and Property Insurance, or Bubba's Pool Cleaning and Property Insurance, or maybe Corleone Brothers Funeral Home and Property Insurance — Proudly Serving Florida's Property Insurance Needs Since Last Week.

It's not easy feeling less wanted than Barack Obama at the Villages.

But when it comes to trying to insure one's home in Florida, Citizens represents that resonant line from Argo, in that the company is "the best bad idea we have."

We would be beside ourselves with happy, happy joy if Citizens could fix us up with a real stable, honest-to-goodness insurance company like Liberty Mutual, or Allstate, or Prudential, or anybody else besides Captain Spud's Fishing Guide and Property Insurance — Happily Serving Florida's Property Insurance Needs Since the Last Low Tide.

Despite spending thousands of dollars in premiums — far more than just a few years ago — we're clearly asking too much. We're being ungrateful. We're being unreasonable. We should be spending every waking moment in the service of making Citizens' life easier. It's the very least we can do in appreciation for all that Citizens doesn't want to do for us.

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