ORLANDO, Fla. — As the number of Citizens Property Insurance customers continues to grow, some policyholders could soon be getting letters in the mail asking them to act or be forced into more expensive insurance policies.
The state-backed insurer of last resort said they sent out letters to 304,000 policyholders over the last few weeks.
The last big batch of 24,000 letters went out Monday and about 1,600 letters went out Wednesday to complete the mailing.
A Citizens spokesperson says they try to give people 30 days when they send out depopulation letters, but a vendor delay is setting that timeline back.
The initial deadline to make a decision was Oct. 5, but because of the delay policyholders now have until Oct. 10.
That means the clock is ticking for over 300,000 Citizens insurance policyholders and the price of inaction is costly.
Insurance expert Diana Giron owns Universal Insurance Agency in Orlando. She says depopulation letters like this are not new. For years similar letters have been sent out as Citizens works to return their policyholders to the private market.
Currently, over 1.3 million people are Citizens policyholders, that is equal to the population of Dallas, Texas.
However, Giron explains that Florida’s public insurance of last resort was never meant to get this big.
“It’s a disaster in the progress. We are in hurricane season, it could be devastating for the entire market. So we have to try to spread the risk with all carriers. The problem is the premiums are still high,” Giron said.
The latest batch of letters will provide policyholders with a depopulation offer form. If your premium goes up by 20 percent or less you have no choice but to make the switch. However, if it costs any more than that you can opt out and choose to remain with Citizens.
If you don’t opt out, you’ll be automatically enrolled and the difference could mean hundreds of dollars.
Policyholders can choose online here, or by contacting their agent listed on the takeout offer letter.
According to a company spokesperson, Citizens is contacting agents and policyholders who received an offer but have yet to respond.
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