TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp., considered an insurer of last resort, is again looking at ways to downsize its policy count.

The Citizens Board of Governors this week approved having an outside review to determine if more “depopulation” options are available.

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Citizens had 444,000 policies as of Dec. 6, a total that has been relatively stable the past few years. The board’s move was in response to a challenge to reduce the policy count by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg. “Senator Brandes is right.

We should continue to look at ways to improve for our policyholders and stakeholders,” Citizens Chairman Bo Rivard said in a prepared statement.

“We agree the timing is right and look forward to seeing where it leads us.” Citizens also went outside to review depopulation efforts five years ago.

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The insurer undertook a massive effort to shed policies after the count peaked at nearly 1.5 million — 23 percent of Florida’s market — in November 2012.

Citizens allowed private insurers to in bulk take over less-risky policies, and it continues to require new and renewing policies to be run through an electronic clearinghouse that compares the policies with what’s available on the private market.

Citizens saw its policy count grow by roughly 23,000 after Florida Specialty Insurance Co. was placed in receivership by state regulators in October.

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