Citizens Property Insurance Corporation expressed satisfaction with its response efforts to the first hurricanes to hit Florida in more than a decade as the end of the 2016 hurricane season officially ended Nov. 30.
“Policies and procedures put in place over the past several years paid off for Citizens policyholders who suffered losses from Hurricane Hermine and Hurricane Matthew, the first hurricanes to hit Florida since 2005,” the company said in a statement. “The storms also presented the first real opportunities for Citizens to test and improve upon its catastrophic response capabilities.”
Following 11 storm-free years, Hermine made landfall just south of Tallahassee on September 2, 2016. It was followed five weeks later by Matthew, which raked Florida’s Atlantic coastline and caused major storm surge damage without making landfall.
So far, Citizens said it has paid out more than $10.7 million on claims relating to Hermine and Matthew. About 84 percent of roughly 4,000 claims have been closed. As of November 25, 2016, Citizens insured 472,017 policies representing $127.8 billion in exposure.
“We clearly showed that Citizens is ready as we received excellent feedback for our claims handling from our customers,” said Barry Gilway, Citizens president, CEO and executive director. “That said, we will continue to look for ways to improve.”
Going forward, Citizens said it will use the experience from this season to further bolster its catastrophe claims paying process in preparation for the 2017 hurricane season that begins June 1.
“The 2016 hurricane season provided Citizens with an excellent opportunity to test response capabilities developed over the past several years,’ said Chris Gardner, chairman of Citizens Board of Governors. “We passed the test and also learned a lot, which will make our response even more successful in the future.”
The Atlantic hurricane season runs annually from June 1 through November 30. This was a slightly above average season that produced a total of 15 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.
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