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Gallagher Appoints Citizens Board of Governors, Moves Implementation Date to August 1


TALLAHASSEE - Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher today announced his appointment of seven individuals who will serve as the Board of Governors for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation (Citizens). Citizens will serve as the state's insurer of last resort for consumers unable to obtain property insurance coverage from the private market. Gallagher also announced that the full implementation of Citizens is delayed until August 1, 2002.

"The new board is made up of Florida residents who represent diverse geographical areas of our state," Gallagher said. "I'm confident that the board will effectively represent policyholders who have no private market options and ensure they have access to the coverages they need."

In discussing the need to delay implementation of Citizens, Gallagher said, "While we had hoped to complete all of the work necessary to implement Citizens by July 1, 2002, some work remains to be done. The delay will not have any impact on policyholders or their agents."

Gallagher has appointed the following individuals to serve on the Citizens Board for a three-year term:

William O'Neil, Chairman - Sarasota County

G. Bruce Douglas - Duval County

Marcos R. Marchena - Orange County

Jeff A. Cross - Broward County

Jay Odom - Okaloosa County

Gloria W. Fletcher - Alachua County

Edward London - Miami-Dade County

In addition to supervising the operations of Citizens, the new Board will also serve as the Board of Governors of the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA), effective July 1, 2002. Until the full implementation of Citizens on August 1, the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA) will continue to operate under the supervision of its present Board of Governors.

Citizens, which was approved by the Legislature this past session, is the new entity resulting from the merger of the FWUA, which offered wind-only coverage to nearly 410,000 coastal residents, with the FRPCJUA, which covered approximately 110,000 consumers in need of residential or commercial property coverage. The FRPCJUA was created after Hurricane Andrew for homeowners left stranded with nowhere to turn for insurance coverage.

In addition, Citizens will help lower costs because it is structured to be a tax-exempt entity, resulting in tax savings of up to $100 million annually. It will also have the ability to issue tax-free bonds in the event a major storm strikes Florida.

Under Citizens, policyholders will be able to purchase one policy offering homeowner and hurricane coverage through the insurance agent of their choice. Citizens' rates will be based on the formula currently used by the FRPCJUA.