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New boss at Citizens Property Insurance Corp. outlines his goals

3:50 PM, Jul 11, 2012   |    comments
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation's President and CEO Barry Gilway is on a mission to reduce the size of the state-operated insurer.
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The new boss at Citizens Property Insurance Corp. says his main goal is to reduce the size of the state-operated insurer, but higher rates will also be part of the plan.

Citizens has become Florida's largest property insurer with about 1.5 million policies, and much of that growth has happened in just the last three years.

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Company President and CEO Barry Gilway, who's been on the job about a month, hopes to reduce the number policies by around 400,000 over the next three years.

Gilway is aiming to make Citizens the insurer of last resort, as it was originally envisioned when it was created ten years ago.

Gilway says reaching that goal will include more focus on reducing fraud and costs, and talking about fair rate increases.

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"To really focus on getting closer to rate adequacy, we not only need to address rate, we need to address fraud, we need to address loss costs. So we need to focus as intensively on how we get our costs down, how we get the claims count down and how we lower our claims load in addition to the other element which is, of course, increasing rates."

Gilway says Citizens must do a better job defining its product compared to the private sector and making sure customers understand the potentially higher costs that they would pay if a big storm forces the company to charge assessments.

Gilway has more than 40 years of experience in the insurance industry. He says leading Citizens will be the most challenging job of his career and the most exciting.

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