Citizens to Implement New Lobbyist Registration System Aug. 1

By | June 19, 2018

Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the Florida state-run insurer of last resort, has devised a new policy requiring lobbyists seeking to lobby the insurer to register via a new online registration system.

The new corporate policy comes in response to a request by Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who sent a letter to Barry Gilway last month urging Citizens to update its internal Code of Ethics to include public documentation of entities that lobby the insurer.

“Currently, lobbyists and private insurers are not statutorily required to disclose their efforts on behalf of clients and private interest they represent before Citizens Property Insurance Corporation,” Patronis wrote in his May 2 open letter to Gilway.

Citing the need for transparency, Patronis said in the letter, “A public entity that provides insurance to more than 444,000 policyholders in Florida, and the potential financial impact that Citizens has for all Floridians’ insurance policies, should ensure all lobbying activities are conducted in the sunshine.”

Patronis requested that Gilway attend the next meeting of the Florida Cabinet, which along with Patronis consists of Governor Rick Scott, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi, to address the matter and the lack of a statutory requirement.

Gilway instead presented the new policy and tracking system to cabinet members at the June 13 meeting, saying he was highly supportive of responding to Patronis’ request for the insurer to increase transparency.

He told cabinet members the new online registration system would be up and running Aug. 1 and becomes effective as of Sept. 1. All current lobbyists will be notified of the new requirement and registration system.

Lobbyist registrations will be made available to the public in a database housed on Citizens external website.

Lobbyists will be required to register before communicating or contacting a Citizens employee or board of governors member, outside of a presentation on the record at a publicly noticed meeting. Citizens said employees and board members should refrain from responding to overtures by lobbyists attempting to lobby Citizens until their registration is complete.

Lobbyist registration must include the following information provided under oath:

  1. Name and business address of the Lobbyist;
  2. Name and business address of each principal represented;
  3. Statement signed by each principal or principal’s representative stating that the lobbyist is authorized to represent the principal;
  4. The main business of each principal;
  5. The existence of any direct or indirect business association, partnership, or financial relationship with any board member or employee of Citizens and the Lobbyist.

The policy will apply to all Citizens employees, not just those in senior management, but attorneys, agent adjusters or anyone actively representing a client with respect to an insurance claim are excluding from being required to register, Gilway said.

“I am happy to be supportive [of the CFO’s request] and proud of our team for being so aggressive in getting a system up and running and available for lobbyists as quickly as they did,” he said.

Patronis praised the Citizens team for implementing the system and for getting it done “ahead of schedule.”

“Requiring those who lobby Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to disclose what they are doing just makes good sense. I applaud Barry Gilway, the entire Board and staff for developing a policy that puts transparency at the forefront,” Patronis said in a statement.

The Citizens Board of Governors is scheduled to vote to approve the new policy on June 20.

Read: Citizens Lobbyist Policy

About Amy O'Connor

O'Connor is the Southeast editor for Insurance Journal and associate editor of MyNewMarkets.com. More from Amy O'Connor

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