Citizens Officials Report Their Status to Task Force

February 9, 2005

Officials with Citizens Property Insurance Corporation today announced that the state’s insurer of last resort has closed 90 percent of all insurance claims stemming from last year’s devastating storms. The announcement was made at a meeting of the Citizens Task Force, created by state Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher to oversee Citizens’ response to storm victims.

“Citizens has turned the corner on claims resolution,” Bob Ricker, executive director said. “We are making significant changes, both immediate and for the future, to ensure our policyholders receive the service they deserve.”

Ricker reassured policyholders who continue to experience delays in the claims handling process that a priority has been placed on quick responses. “Our number-one focus is closing hurricane claims.” Ricker said. “When adjusters fail to do the job, we are committed to taking the necessary steps to satisfy the customer. In addition, claim reviewers, check issuers and customer service representatives are working six days a week to put our policyholders back to where they were before the storms.”

In addition to closing claims, Citizens announced that it had resolved more than 89 percent of all consumer complaints. The number of incoming complaints related to adjuster delays also dropped to 10 percent. Ricker attributed the success to changes in management of claims, including the creation of a Catastrophe Center staffed by in-house adjusters and a call center to assist consumers with questions and concerns.

The task force continued debate on proposals for Citizens’ improvement for hurricane season 2005. Based on guidance from Gallagher, Citizens previously submitted suggested reforms including:

• Directly supervising field adjusters to ensure policyholders are served efficiently, without lengthy delays.
• Opening regional claims offices, which would also serve as command centers during a catastrophe.
• Better utilizing agent resources.
• Adding permanent claims processing staff to handle non-catastrophe related claims, who could also be deployed immediately in the event of a disaster.

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