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Citizens aims to be more consumer-friendly in shedding policies


Citizens Property Insurance, already at a near-record low after shedding about 1 million policies in four years, aims to shrink even more.

But this time the state-run insurer of last resort is taking a more consumer-friendly approach.

After enduring a severe backlash for how policies were transferred to private carriers, Citizens' board this morning will consider ways to keep policyholders in mind as it discusses getting rid of another 130,000 policies by the end of 2016.

Gone already are scare letters warning of dramatic assessments if they remain in Citizens, even if not completely accurate. Also critical correspondence looking like junk mail has been changed, and prospective premium hikes from new insurers are being disclosed in advance for the first time. The burden is still on consumers to "opt out" of being sent to another insurance company.

"The opt-out letters were not as clear as they should have been," said Gary Aubuchon, a former state legislator and current Citizens board member. "We are listening to what the consumers are saying."

A key reform begins in October, when letters urging home­owners to switch to private insurers will include cost premium estimates for both the private provider who is seeking to take on the policy and Citizens, information not included in past letters.

More here.