350,000 Floridians Need to Reapply for Hurricane Insurance

August 7, 2008

The state-created corporation that’s become Florida’s largest property insurer says about 350,000 wind-only policyholders will have to reapply for coverage over a yearlong period that begins in February.

The procedure is part of a switch to a new computer system by Citizens Property Insurance Corp. It’s expected to be more cost efficient and result in easier to understand policies, said executive vice president Suzanne Murphy.

“We’re not canceling any policies,” Murphy said.

A notice will be sent out six months before a policy expires, but it cannot be renewed until 60 days or less before the expiration date.

Citizens cannot automatically renew the policies because the insurer now uses a single policy form for all types of homes, Murphy said. The new system has separate forms for various types of dwellings such as single-family homes, condominium units and mobile homes.

The switch affects wind-only customers in coastal areas. About 800,000 customers covered by Citizens for all perils, including fire and theft, already are on the new system.

A small number of customers, though, may not be renewed if they have shingle roofs older than 25 years and fail to get them replaced or certified for a longer time by licensed contractors.

The reapplication requirement affects customers throughout the state but most wind-only policies are on the southeast and southwest coasts.

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