|Date:||July 07, 2017|
The following letter to the editor was written by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. President, CEO and Executive Director Barry Gilway in response to an opinion piece from the Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters that ran on July 6, 2017 on InsuranceJournal.com.
Starting this month, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation will begin offering its customers the choice of a new program that will take the hassle out of water loss repairs while protecting them from holding the bag following a nonweather water loss.
Unfortunately, a recent opinion piece “Opinion: Floridians will pay more for less under Citizens Managed Repair Program” contains a number of mischaracterizations and inaccuracies regarding Citizens Managed Repair Program that need to be addressed.
The two-stage program will provide Citizens policyholders with free water extraction and drying services following a nonweather water loss – broken pipe, a leaking water heater – regardless of whether the underlying loss is covered. It’s a free service, pure and simple.
After the water’s gone, Citizens has partnered with Contractor Connection to provide a network of licensed, qualified, and credentialed contractors to perform permanent repairs based on nationally recognized estimates and quality standards that ensure the damage is repaired to pre-loss condition. The repairs are guaranteed for a minimum of three years.
This is a voluntary program. Customers who choose not to participate have the option to hire their own contractor to do permanent repairs. If state regulators approve, reimbursement for such repairs would be limited to $10,000 starting in 2018. This sub-limit would adequately cover three out of four policyholders who file a nonweather-related water claim. Repairs made under the managed repair program would not be subject to such caps.
As your readers are well aware, Citizens and other property insurers have grappled over the last several years with skyrocketing water losses, assignment of benefit abuse and runaway litigation that have forced higher premiums on our customers. Without statutory reforms that include changes to Florida’s one-way attorney fee statute, many of our policyholders will be hit by these rate increases for years to come.
We will continue to work for such meaningful reforms. In the meantime, however, we can’t sit back and do nothing while we dip deeper into reserves. As Florida’s insurer of last resort, we need a sustainable model to ensure that policyholders who can’t find coverage in the private market have somewhere to turn to protect themselves and their families.
These new initiatives will allow us to be there for our customers when they need us most while helping to lower costs for all our policyholders and the people of Florida. The bottom line is that policyholders who Call Citizens First after a water loss can be assured prompt, hassle-free emergency services at no cost, and warrantied permanent repairs to get them quickly back on their feet.