The head of the Office of Financial Regulation, Tom Grady, stepped down from his position in order to take on what some say is Florida’s largest financial liability: Citizens Property Insurance.
Grady was named interim president of Citizens this week, but his letter to his staff at OFR indicates that he may be president permanently.
Grady’s letter indicates that he was asked by the Citizens board chairman Carlos Lacasa this week to head up the state-run insurer, after the departure of president Scott Wallace. He said he made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take the gig. He starts Monday.
“I love working at the OFR,” he wrote. “But I am eager to serve in a different capacity in another area of the financial services industry, one where stability and rationality are necessary conditions to a sustained economic recovery.”
A profile last year in the Tampa Bay Times describes Grady as "a successful securities attorney, prominent Republican money-raiser and former state representative from Naples."
With 1.5 million policies and more than $500 billion in maximum exposure, Citizens has launched on a controversial risk-reduction effort over the last few months. The insurer has raised premiums on sinkhole coverage, required roof-inspection for old homes and launched a statewide re-inspection program for homes receiving wind-mitigation discounts. In January, the company scrapped wind coverage for homes worth more than $1 million. Policyholders have complained, filed lawsuits, and even released protest songs against the so-called insurer of last resort..
Grady said he “applaud(s) the board’s courage and initiatives,” and indicated that he planned to continue with Citizens’ goal to slash risk.
Grady will have to adjust quickly. Hurricane season begins in less than 90 days, and the state’s six-year storm-free streak leaves it at the mercies of the odds, and the gods.
Grady’s colorful goodbye letter to his OFR team may offer an indication of how he will run the behemoth Citizens:
“Question everything,” he said. “Make decisions. Think different. Be heard. But most of all, suck the marrow out of life, inside and outside the office, and make your one shot on earth count.”
OFR will soon name an interim director. Grady is the latest in a string of agency heads to leave their posts in Gov. Rick Scott’s administration since January.
Here’s the rest of Grady’s letter:
“Change is good.”
You have heard me say it, and often. Now, I’m eating my own cooking.
Yesterday, I received a call from the Chairman of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and was asked to serve as the interim, and potentially permanent, President of that company. The start date? Monday, March 12. Under the gun, I made the decision: I accepted.
I love working at the OFR. I love the people, the industry, and the work. But I am eager to serve in a different capacity in another area of the financial services industry, one where stability and rationality are necessary conditions to a sustained economic recovery. Make no mistake, under Gov. Scott’s leadership, that recovery is under way in Florida – and I aim to help keep it going.
With your help, OFR will continue to energize everyone and everything associated with it. We will focus on outcomes, not process. OFR now has terrific Division Directors, and a very capable Deputy Commissioner. Finally, we have budget clarity, and can FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS on the future.
I encourage you to make the most of the newly recharged OFR. Question everything. Make decisions. Think different. Be heard. But most of all, suck the marrow out of life, inside and outside the office, and make your one shot on earth count.
Thank you for the opportunity to have served this terrific agency. God bless, and good luck!