Citizens Insurance Is Substandard On Purpose, CEO Says
|By Charles Elmore, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"The Citizens product is an inferior product by design,"
Gilway said such steps as not covering pool cages and outbuildings or homes worth more than
The Citizens president praised the work of individual company employees as exemplary, even as he acknowledged a mission of making its products unpalatable.
"We tried to make ourselves as unattractive as we possibly can," Gilway said. That has "frustrated" customers, he said.
Plans to "depopulate" Citizens by pushing customers to private insurers could see the company shrink to about 1.2 million customers in 2013, according to budget projections the company revealed this week.
That's in addition to 310,000 policies approved for removal in November and December.
Still, Gilway said it's too much to expect Citizens will disappear any time soon. Mobile homes, certain homes near the coast and others will likely remain in the last-resort insurer for many years to come.
Gilway said a continuing problem is "rate inadequacy" in some areas, mentioning
In other action at the conference, personal injury protection car insurance rates are going down on average only about one-fourth of the way toward a 10 percent reduction targeted under a new law, state officials said.
Among the first 44 rate filings approved, the average decrease was 2.5 percent, said
A law passed in the spring severely cut back PIP benefits, eliminating massage and acupuncture and limiting non-emergency care to
State Chief Financial Officer
An actuarial firm reported to state officials that PIP savings under the law should range from 14 percent to 25 percent.
Some legislators, consumer groups and lawyers have blasted the law that Gov.
Industry groups said the expectation of immediate savings under the bill has created some problems.
"Since the end of the session we're playing a really tough expectations game," said
Some insurers say legal costs and other expenses mean they cannot bring bills down. One group has challenged the law's constitutionality, and other suits are expected by early next year.
PIP represents about 20 percent of the bill for many drivers. In some company filings, modest PIP savings are offset by increases in other parts of the bill.
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