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Citizens Insurance CEO Scott Wallace resigns

Scott Wallace, the President/CEO and Executive Director of Florida's state-run insurance organization, Citizens, announced his resignation on Friday, the organization announced Monday. 

Citizens, which was included in widespread insurance reform last year, has grown rapidly in recent years, causing many to question its financial security.

Wallace has been challenged by some lawmakers over some of Citizens' policies, including several changes that took place Jan. 1, 2012.

Sen. Mike Fasano, New Port Richey, sent a charged letter to Wallace today through the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, asking several questions about Citizens' policies. 

"I have received many complaints from policyholders that Citizens is conducting business in ways that, in some cases, are inconsistent from one homeowner to another," he wrote. His letter criticized Citizens for spending large amounts on outside legal counsel to fight sinkhole claims, applying different rules to different customers and canceling policies on struggling homeowners.

Wallace, who has been the top executive at Citizens for six years, plans to stay at the helm of the insurer until April, to help with the transition. His resignation was voluntary and his contract requires him to give 90 days notice before leaving the company. He could not be reached for comment Monday.

"Scott has led the company through a complex ramp up of the infrastructure needed for Citizens to provide the services and possess the claims payment ability that is so essential to our state's housing industry," Citizens' chairman Carlos A. Lacasa said in a statement.

Wallace did not provide a reason for resigning in his letter, available here (Download Wallace_ResignationLe).

Christine Ashburn, a spokesperson for Citizens, said Wallace's resignation had nothing to do with mounting criticiscm from lawmakers, or recent changes to Citizens' policies.

"I don’t think there’s any backstory here," she said. "It has to do with the realigning of priorities and trying to get some balance in his personal life."

Here's the release from Citizens:

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Citizens Property Insurance Corporation today announced the resignation of President/CEO and Executive Director Scott R. Wallace. Wallace plans to remain at Citizens through April 6, 2012 to ensure a smooth transition.

Wallace, who has been at the helm of Citizens for the past six years, tendered his voluntary resignation Friday, January 6, 2012 in a letter to Chairman Carlos A. Lacasa.

Speaking on behalf of the board, Chairman Lacasa accepted Wallace's resignation with regret, praising his dedication and achievements. Â Lacasa stated, "Scott has led the company through a complex ramp up of the infrastructure needed for Citizens to provide the services and possess the claims payment ability that is so essential to our state's housing industry."

"His talents will be sorely missed," Lacasa said.

Chairman Lacasa credited Wallace for continuous improvements in Citizens' service levels, risk transference initiatives, and professionalism towards our policyholders, agents, legislative leaders and stakeholders.  Citizens' surplus has grown to over $5.5 billion and our total claims paying capacity (including surplus, pre-event financing, Florida Hurricane Cat Fund and private reinsurance) is nearly $17 billion.

"The Board is grateful to Scott Wallace for a job well done," Mr. Lacasa said.

 

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