Citizens in Florida is now under fire against significant opposition to the move.
Citizens Property has already been facing fierce opposition from critics over the recent changes that it has been making to its homeowners insurance coverage in order to decrease its number of policyholders, and this disapproval was heightened this week when it announced that it has axed its own internal watchdog group.
This occurred at the same time that the insurer is already under investigation for high corporate spending.
On Monday, Dan Krassner, the executive director of Integrity Florida, and Sean Shaw, the former state Insurance Consumer Advocate, sent a letter to Governor Rick Scott. In it, they expressed that they found it disturbing that the internal watchdog for the state backed homeowners insurance company had been dismantled. They also went on to request that the Governor send his inspector general in order to place the decision under investigation.
Krassner and Shaw weren’t the only ones acting out against the move by the homeowners insurance company.
Also involved in the protest to the governor against the most recent moves by Citizens was Senator Mike Fasano (R – Port Richey). Senator Fasano sent his own letter of protest to the governor regarding the insurer’s decision to close the watchdog office. Fasano explained that “Perception is everything,” and that “There are so many questions that I have, that my colleagues have.”
Earlier in October, the homeowners insurance company of last resort chose to shut down its Office of Corporate Integrity, which was made up of four employees. That office was responsible for performing investigations into any allegations of misuse of funds, sexual harassment, and internal corruption. When this decision was announced to the public last week, government watchdog groups expressed immediate outrage.
At the same time, Governor Scott, himself, wrote a letter of caution to Barry Gilway, the president of Citizens homeowners insurance, which urged him to take great care in the way he proceeds with the company’s changes.
Citizens and its president have both upheld their perspective that this issue looks much worse than it actually is. The homeowners insurance company has maintained that the closure of the office has been blown entirely out of proportion and that the move was designed to make the company more – not less – accountable.