By CBSMiami.com Team

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Citizens Property Insurance Corp. could top 1 million policies in 2022, as problems in the private market continue to drive customers to the state-backed insurer, officials said Tuesday.

Barry Gilway, president and CEO of Citizens, said an initial forecast for next year includes 1 million to 1.3 million policies. Gilway said Citizens hit 700,000 policies on Friday and is projected to reach 765,000 policies this year.

READ MORE: Attorney For Key Ally Of Venezuela Leader's Nicolas Maduro Called His Extradition To The US Illegal

Citizens has seen its policy count increase from 499,056 on Aug. 31, 2020. For more than a year, the private insurance market has tightened, with companies passing along large rate increases and dropping customers to reduce exposure to claims.

READ MORE: Haiti Gang With Past Abductions Blamed For Kidnapping Missionaries

That has spurred growth in Citizens, with industry officials saying the state-backed insurer often charges lower premiums than private carriers.

“If the market doesn’t get better, we’re going to keep growing, unfortunately,” Christine Ashburn, chief of communications, legislative and external affairs, said during a committee meeting Tuesday in advance of a Wednesday meeting of the Citizens Board of Governors.

MORE NEWS: Miami Police Investigate Bomb Threat

(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team