Citizens Property Insurance in ‘good financial shape’ post-Hurricane Ian

Citizens Property Insurance in ‘good financial shape’ post-Hurricane Ian

FT. MYERS, Fla. — Many feared that one big storm could cost every homeowner in Florida if the state-backed insurer of last resort, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., couldn’t afford to pay out claims from its more than a million policies.

The insurer reached 1.1 million policies, more than double its average amount, right before Hurricane Ian hit Florida, which made its way from the Gulf coast across the state to the East coast with devastating winds and rainfall.

“This is our third hurricane. Charlie, and then we’ve had Irma — a lot of damage in Irma, but this is something we’ve never seen before,” Fort Myers Beach homeowner Cynthia Breski told ABC Action News.

More than a week after the hurricane, she still hadn’t been allowed back on the island to see what was left of her home. She’s renting an apartment in the meantime, making several trips to the state’s Disaster Recovery Center Insurance Village in Ft. Myers, hoping to get help from her insurance company.

“I came here today to follow up with my insurance again because we are actually, a lot of us, are homeless, with nothing,” Breski said.

Her property insurance is with Citizens.

Industry experts feared that Citizens was taking on too many policies due to the runaway litigation and insolvencies that have plagued property insurance companies in the state in the last few years.

We went to Citizens one week after Ian hit to ask how they were holding up.

“What we’re telling our policyholders and everybody right now it’s Citizens is in good financial shape. We’re structured to sort of handle the ups and downs of the market,” Michael Peltier, spokesperson for Citizens, told us at their booth at the insurance village.

Citizens at Insurance village ft myers.png


In a previous report, we explained that the state-backed organization is built to handle any storm with the ability to assess insurance policies.

It starts with Citizens’ policyholders. If Citizens needs more money to pay claims, their customers can be assessed up to 45% of their current premium.

If that’s not enough money, then Citizens can assess all homeowners in the state up to 2% through their insurance carrier.

If that’s still not enough money, then they can assess every insurance policy up to 30% for several years, that includes renters and auto insurance.

We asked Peltier if Citizens will have to assess policyholders to cover the cost of claims from Ian.

He responded, “Right now, given the projections that we’ve seen, we do not think that we’re going to be in a position that we’re going to have to levy surcharges on our policyholders or assessments and other Florida insurance customers. We’ve got the surplus in place.”

In August, Citizens told us they had about $13.4 billion in claims-paying ability available in the event of a storm.

Peltier said they anticipate the storm to cost them about $2.3-2.6 billion.

Citizens has about 10-15% of the property insurance market in Southwest Florida, according to Peltier, but their claims span across Ian’s path to the East coast.

They had about 40,000 claims filed in the first week after Hurricane Ian, and they anticipate about 225,000 total with projections of policyholders in the storm’s path

Citizens stats post Ian.png


For many policyholders, it will just require patience.

“They told us right now that our claim is in process, and we are just waiting for an adjuster to call us,” Breski said.

The Insurance Information Institute tells us that they anticipate total payouts from Hurricane Ian to cost close to $60K, but their main concern is billions in lawsuits against insurance companies that are already financially struggling, explaining that many companies will be sued over disputes in wind verse flood damage.

Residents who need in-person assistance from Citizens, their insurance company, DEO, or FEMA can visit one of the state’s two insurance villages in Charlotte and Lee counties, open every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


15290 Bass RoadFort Myers, FL 33919

  • Port Charlotte Town Center Mall parking lot

1441 Tamiami TrailPort Charlotte, FL 33948

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