|By Charles Elmore, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The fall from a statewide high of 1.5 million customers two years ago has not come without controversy, including a private insurer providing false rates to at least 14,000 Citizens customers in a transfer offer this year,
Still, company officials said the development marked an important step in efforts to reduce its size.
"Today's announcement marks the culmination of efforts from all Citizens' stakeholders," said
Citizens remains the biggest carrier in the state and locally, but the policy count in
The company's growth spurt in recent years had been fueled largely by the dropping of hundreds of thousands of
A new clearinghouse launched in late January is designed to make customers ineligible for Citizens if a private carrier is offering comparably priced coverage. That means Citizens could continue to get smaller in 2014.
The value of property insured by Citizens has fallen from a high of
In turn, that has reduced the risk of assessments to Citizens customers or those of other insurers to bail out the state-run carrier if bad storms wiped out reserves, although legislative critics have described as "scare tactics" some letters warning about assessment risk.
Non-Citizens customers would pay no assessments and Citizens customers
"For most Floridians, the biggest news, certainly, is that we've reduced possible assessments from nearly
That does not mean ratepayers will be free of the risk of assessments under a smaller Citizens. Private insurers who go out of business have their claims paid by the
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