An action plan and recommendations for improvements to make Citizens Property Insurance Corporation ready to respond during a major disaster, such as last year’s devastating hurricanes, has been submitted to the Citizens Task Force created by Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher.
“Citizens recognizes that major improvements are needed to allow us to better serve our policyholders in the future,” Bob Ricker, Citizens’ executive director said. “We believe these proposals will set Citizens on the right track for the next storm season.”
Citizens’ proposals for improvement include:
• Redesign Citizens’ catastrophe claims department to manage all aspects of disaster response. This will allow Citizens to directly supervise field adjusters to ensure policyholders are served efficiently, without lengthy delays.
• Opening regional claims offices. Opening offices throughout the state will enable Citizens to serve policyholders in their local communities. The offices will also serve as command centers during a catastrophe.
• Better utilizing agent resources, including the possibility of allowing agents to adjust claims following a disaster. Citizens will also offer greater training opportunities for agents, ultimately resulting in improved customer service.
• Adding permanent claims processing staff to handle non-catastrophe related claims. As a result, Citizens would have access to experienced and knowledgeable staff to be deployed immediately in the event of a disaster.
Citizens officials also provided an update on current disaster response. As of Jan. 20, Citizens had closed more than 87 percent of all claims, with the majority of the outstanding claims involving complex issues including commercial properties and properties damaged by a combination of flood and wind.
Incoming complaints regarding adjusters also continued to decline, down 80 percent from August, 2004. In addition, Citizens has resolved more than 5,600 consumer complaints.