|By Charles Elmore, The Palm Beach Post, Fla.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"We need to do everything possible to build confidence in the public," board chairman
One idea to get smaller: A clearinghouse aimed at doing a better job of making sure potential customers never reach Citizens in the first place if there are suitable private carriers to serve them.
That's a concept pushed by Citizens president
More than half its new customers come to Citizens from "captive" agents, who may be tied to a large insurer that isn't writing new business and may have few options to offer besides Citizens, he said. Agents for
"If you go to a
She noted "the relationship between our customers and their
Meanwhile, Citizens has added two forensic accountants to help spot fraud and abuse, partial steps in a plan to replace four fired members of the corporate integrity unit, Gilway said. Citizens has come under fire for its handling of that situation, which came amid criticism of executive travel expenses and alleged misconduct by employees.
A bill by state Rep.
Describing himself as "well aware of the missteps," Gilway said he is "more than open" to having an inspector general within Citizens, though he hopes it is not at the expense of other oversight moves the company wants to make.
"I'm fully supportive of the basic concept," Gilway said.
Citizens has seen about 277,000 customers move to other carriers in 2012, and hopes to keep that momentum going, he said. The company's customer count in
But in the past, many customers wind up coming back to Citizens if new insurers drop them or raise rates. This year, the company hopes to keep out more customers by helping see they never arrive in the first place.
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