CEO: Citizens Property Insurance now on a better financial footing

The financial outlook for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is improving, based on a variety of measurements discussed today by the chief executive that has guided the process the past two years.

During his presentation at the July meeting of the Economic Club of Florida, Citizens president and CEO Barry Gilway gave statistics showing that the property insurer – Florida’s largest – is successfully reducing the number of policyholders it has, its total financial exposure, and boosting its claims-paying ability.

Gilway, an insurance executive whose career spans more than 40 years, came onboard at Citizens just as its financial challenges reached their peak, he noted. The company has been a provider of last resort for consumers unable to obtain coverage elsewhere.

“It was really a company out of control,” Gilway said. “We had reached 1.5 million policies – 26 percent of the market.” That has since declined to 920,000 policies and he wants it lower – down to about 650,000 or thereabouts.

“Our target for the end of this year is something in that 850,000 range because we still expect some significant depopulation in the November and December time frames,” he said. That shift is easier today with the improving financial health of private insurers, who can offer coverage for Citizens policyholders.

What the systematic transfer of risk has done is shrink Citizens’ total exposure, Gilway said. In 2011 the state-created insurer had $510 billion worth of ….

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