Florida’s Citizens Ends Moratorium on Cancellations, Nonrenewals

By | January 14, 2021

After extending the moratorium on cancellations and nonrenewals put into place at the start of the pandemic, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has announced it will resume processing these as of Feb. 1, 2021.

The Florida insurer of last resort said in a bulletin to agents that the board of governors at its December meeting approved lifting the temporary moratorium established in March 2020 to ease the burden on policyholders due to the COVID-19 health risk.

Cancellations and nonrenewals for policies that had exceptions made due to the COVID-19 health risk will be processed on Feb. 1. After that date, Citizens will only make hardship exceptions to those policyholders who continue to be affected by loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss realized during the state of emergency and directly impacting the ability of the policyholder to make payments.

The company said this is a standard similar to that used in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ executive order that narrows criteria in prior orders for relief from foreclosures and evictions.

Citizens will continue to offer temporary payment arrangements to impacted policyholders to select by Jan. 31, 2021. Quarterly payment plans will continue to be available to policyholders as of Feb. 1. After Jan. 31, new payment arrangements would be offered only to policyholders who continue to experience a loss of employment, diminished wages or business income, or other monetary loss.

Citizens has begun mailing invoices for each policy term to list-bill (mortgagee-billed) and direct-billed policyholders with a past due premium of $5 or more. The total past-due premium is due on Jan. 31, 2021. Citizens said it would email affected agents a list of their past-due policies that are direct-billed and list-billed before Jan. 31, 2021, with more information.

Citizens said that as of Nov. 30, 2020, payment exceptions had been made on 30,799 policies (6.04% of policies) for a total of more than $24 million. The insurer also made 25,857 underwriting exceptions for 10,678 new business policies and 15,179 existing policies.

Citizens had originally planned to end its moratorium last summer but reversed its decision after Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis urged the insurer not to cancel customer policies during hurricane season and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hurricane season is just beginning to heat up and we are in the middle of an unprecedented health and economic crisis. This is not the time to cancel Citizens’ home insurance policies,” Patronis said on July 24.

Citizens’ program for alternate documents and deferrals, as outlined in the April 3 Update on Response to the Coronavirus Health Risk, also will end on February 1.

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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