Faced with embarrassing revelations regarding exorbitant spending and employee misconduct at Citizens Property Insurance Corp., CEO Barry Gilway fired four internal investigators who uncovered the wrongdoing. Since Citizens has failed to police itself, Gov. Rick Scott is right to call for the troubled state-run property insurer to have its own inspector general. The Florida Legislature should approve Scott's request to help restore public confidence in Citizens and ensure there is an independent watchdog at the insurer.
Integrity should be at the core of Citizens' mission. With about 1.5 million policyholders throughout Florida and some $6 billion in cash reserves, the public should have every expectation the state's largest property insurer is prudently administered and that its executives are accountable for their actions. There are inspector generals in many other state agencies, and Citizens should not be above having similar checks and balances.
Given Citizens' recent track record for irresponsible spending and employee misconduct with little fear of the consequences, the governor has the right idea. The Legislature should create the position of inspector general within Citizens so an independent set of eyes can catch problems before they mushroom. Policyholders and taxpayers have too much at stake to continue to let the insurer play by its own rules.