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Citizens Property Chief Wants To Look Into Taking It Private

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TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – South Florida homeowners whose property is covered by state run Citizens Property Insurance take note – the Chairman of the ‘insurer of last resort’ has thrown out the idea of taking the agency private.

Meeting for the last time before their collective terms expire, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Chairman James Malone told fellow governing board members that a lack of political will has put the state-backed insurance company in an increasingly untenable position as its rates continue to be well below the level needed to be financially sound.

Malone told the insurer’s board that going private might be the best answer for everyone.

Senate Banking and Insurance Committee chair Garrett Richter of Naples said he agrees with Malone’s idea that Citizens would be a good target for a private entity because of its existing book of business. It would also remove a giant liability from the state.

Malone said one option would be for Citizens to retain about 870,000 coastal policies that nobody wants and offer the rest to the private market.

Citizens, which insures roughly 1.4 million Florida home and business owners, is adding customers at a rate of between 5,000 and 7,000 a week.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and the News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

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