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Board votes to expand Citizens' emergency response powers

The board of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. approved two items that expand Citizens' emergency response powers. Pictured is Barry Gilway, president of Citizens. | [Times file photo]
The board of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. approved two items that expand Citizens' emergency response powers. Pictured is Barry Gilway, president of Citizens. | [Times file photo]
Published Sep. 6, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — The board of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. unanimously approved two items that expand the state insurer's powers to respond to emergencies ahead of Hurricane Irma.

"What the board did was sort of streamline the procedures before the wind starts to blow here," said Michael Peltier, Citizens spokesperson.

One item allows Citizens to hire more vendors and buy more goods and services related to initial emergency response, such as contracts for claims adjustment services. The cost is expected to exceed $50 million.

"Contracts will be entered and amended solely for the purposes of preparing for and responding to the effects of Hurricane Irma," the agenda item said.

"It basically gives us more flexibility as far as the procedures we have to follow to purchase more goods and services for the next 30 days," Peltier said. It includes an optional extension.

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The other item approved contracts for a little more than 300 independent adjusters to help with claims resulting from Hurricane Irma. Adjusters are insurance agents that go out into the field to assess damage associated with a claim. Paired with a previous round of contracts, Citizens will have about 800 extra adjusters on hand for the hurricane.

This was already budgeted for in the $343.9 million set aside for adjusting services contracts.

Ten firms are included in the new round of contracts, which are for five years with an option to extend for one or five years.

Contact Malena Carollo at mcarollo@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo on Twitter.