State’s Insurer of Coastal Property Says it’s Doing a Better Job After Hurricanes

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After thousands of complaints, the state-run “Citizens Property Insurance Corporation” was under orders to get its act together.

Citizens told a task force meeting in Tallahassee this week it is now doing a much better job of processing hurricane claims and getting money to victims.

But, the state’s largest insurer admits it still has a long way to go. It had the third-highest number of hurricane claims behind State Farm and Allstate. It also had the worst record of customer complaints.

Florida Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher gave the state-run insurer an end-of-the-year deadline to get with the program. The good news Citizens opened a new Ops Center with 400 employees to speed up processing. It has now closed 81 percent of its claims.

But with damaged homes still boarded up or completely gone and property owners still waiting for checks, Citizens obviously still has problems.

Gallagher wants citizens to start tracking all its own claims, open regional claims offices, and consider better pay to help solve a chronic shortage of adjusters.

“The answer is we don’t want it to happen again. We want the problems that exist today to be fixed.”

Citizens Spokesman Justin Glover says the insurer knows it’s got more work to do.

“Yes, Citizens was able to make some changes mid-stream and adjust some of the customer service issues, but we need to be better prepared next year to prevent some of those issues from occurring.”

There’s no time to waste. Hurricane season 2005 hits in less than six months.

Citizens Property Insurance Corporation still has more than 25,000 unresolved claims. Citizens insures nearly 900,000, mostly coastal, properties in Florida.