Citizens expands tool for customers to find private insurance

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Some Citizens Property Insurance customers may have some private options when it comes time to renew their policies later this year.

Citizens announced today it will be running multi-peril policy holders through a database of private companies beginning today. The new process is open for those customers with renewal dates after November 1.

Multi-peril policies provide customers with multiple protections covering a variety of possible hazards – like farm equipment or machinery.

“Making the clearinghouse available for renewal customers is the latest step in Citizens’ effort to help our customers enjoy the benefits of private-market coverage and return Citizens to its role as the state’s insurer of last resort,” Citizens President/CEO and Executive Director Barry Gilway said “Many customers will benefit from more-comprehensive coverage, lower pricing and vastly reduced assessment risk in the event of a major storm.”

Customers who find comparable coverage with premiums less than or equal to their Citizens renewal premium won’t be able to renew their policies with Citizens.

Citizens renewal policyholders who accept private-market coverage through the clearinghouse could come back to Citizens if the private company increases rates by more than 10 percent a year during the first three years.

It’s called the Clearinghouse Renewal Program and is an extension of the Property Insurance Clearinghouse, which launched for Citizens new businesses in January. The legislature created the program in 2013 to help homeowners find coverage in the private market.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.