By Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Continuing to add thousands of customers a week, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. was approaching 600,000 policies at the end of April.

The state-backed insurer had 589,041 policies as of April 30, up from 569,868 at the end of March, according to newly updated figures on the Citizens website.

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As a sign of the major growth over the past year, Citizens had 453,911 policies as of April 30, 2020. During a board meeting last week, Citizens officials said the policy count could hit 750,000 by the end of this year.

“On a straight-line basis, we’re looking at 750,000 policies, assuming the current rate of about 5,000 net new customers per week,” Citizens President and CEO Barry Gilway said.

The growth has come as private insurers have cited financial problems that have led them to shed customers and seek large rate increases.

State leaders have long sought to shift policies out of Citizens and into the private market, in part pointing to financial risks.

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The Legislature last month approved a bill (SB 76) that includes changes aimed at slowing the growth of Citizens and making it less competitive with private insurers.

As an example, the bill would allow larger annual rate increases for customers of Citizens.

Such increases currently are capped at 10 percent, but that limit would be gradually raised to 15 percent.

The bill has not been formally sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis for action.

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