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Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance predicts to hit record with nearly 2 million policies in 2023

Citizens ended 2022 with 1.1 million policies and they predict to hit a record-high in their 20-year history, with nearly 1.7 million in the coming year.
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Posted at 1:20 PM, Jan 11, 2023

TAMPA, Fla. — Florida’s insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corps., predicts to hit a record with nearly 2 million policyholders by the end of 2023, citing “continued instability” in the state’s insurance market.

According to the Citizens' 2023 Operating Budget Report, the insurer ended 2022 at just above 1,153,000 policies and they predict to reach the highest number of premiums in their 20-year history by the end of 2023 with nearly 1.7 million.

The insurer averaged about 400,000 policyholders prior to 2020, when the state’s property insurance market started to crumble under the weight of runaway litigation with several private insurers either going insolvent or pulling out of the state.

“By comparison, in 2019, Citizens wrote $877 million in premium and insured roughly 447,000 policyholders – reflecting projected 5-year growth rates in premium and policyholders of 486% and 276%, respectively,” the company’s CEO Brian Gilway and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jennifer Montero wrote in the report.

The 1.7 million policies will equate to more than $5.1 billion in premium volume, according to the report. The report states the company projects underwriting expenses from 2022 to be $2.8 billion dollars; this is money paid out for claims and litigation.

Citizens pulls funding from a number of sources, including premiums, the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund, and private reinsurance.

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The CEO and CFO emphasized that their focus in 2023 will be to “stabilize internal business operations and priorities,” adding that they are still taking on claims from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, and paying litigation costs from suits prior to new legislation.

“For the 2023 fiscal year, Citizens projects that operating costs as a percentage of premium will be approximately 13.5%, reflecting an expense ratio that is substantially below the average range for private market carriers,” they concluded.

The company’s CEO, Barry Gilway, announced his retirement just after the year’s special session in December of 2022. A spokesperson told ABC Action News his exit will be before the next legislative session in March of 2022.

Out of a special session in December, The Florida Legislature approved SB 2A.

In the package of reforms, the following changes were passed with the goal of helping Citizens:

  • If a policyholder receives a renewal or take-out offer from an authorized insurance company that’s within 20% of the policyholder’s Citizens premium, inclusive of Citizens surcharges and assessments, the policyholder is ineligible to remain in Citizens. For renewals, this provision applies to policies that renew on or after April 1, 2023. For take-out offers, the effective date is January 1, 2023.
  • A new policy is ineligible for Citizens if the policyholder receives an offer from an authorized insurance company that is not more than 20% above Citizens’ premium, inclusive of Citizens surcharges and assessments.
  • Requires Citizens residential policyholders to obtain flood insurance as a condition of having coverage from Citizens. Requirement is phased-in based on the flood zones and in specific years.
  • New or renewal non-primary residences policies written on or after November 1, 2023, must be charged rates that are not less than the previous year’s Citizens rate (no decreases) and may not be charged more than 50% above the previous year’s Citizens rate.

Read more about the reforms in SB 2A here.

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